Just not Feeling it today.

Sorry, this is going to be short, but I’m just not feeling it today. I’ll have more to say later.


Finally Friday

Well, it appears that I survived until Friday, which is a good thing.

It’s not been much a week.Hasn’t been much of a month, really; Kingdom A&S was the hightlight of the month. I truly enjoyed that event.  The  art work on display was, literally, inspiring, the feast was wonderful, seeing the announcment that two friends of mine were going to be elevated to Laurels was wonderful, but the best part was simply hanging out with friends. Catching up with people I’ve not seen in a long time. Making new friends. Planning new projects. Yeah, A&S was the highlight of my month.

Of course, next month is going to be quite busy from an SCA point of view: the month is bookended by SCA events. The first weekend, of course, is Coronation, held way down south in Lousianna. It’s at an all camping site, and I only camp at Gulf Wars, so I’ll be staying at a hotel. I am pretty sure I’ll be traveling to that event with my peer and her husband.

It will be a busy event, as Kindom Events always are. In addition to the two courts, there will be a Diamond Chalice meeting to attend. I’ll also have to be there for the change over of kindom property.

The final weekend of the month will be Samhain, our local group’s event. Standard weekend event. I’m handling reservations for it, but so far there have been none. I should probably be worried about that, but I’m not. Worrying doesn’t do anyone any good. People will come, there will be classes, there will be fighting, and there will be food. Can’t ask for much more than that.

That’s all for tonight. Drawing a blank when looking for a subject to write about, and the only thing that is coming to the front of my mind is not something I’m ready to write about in this format yet.


What I haven’t learned

I started working at my current job on March 3, 2005; five years, six months and 21 days ago. Or, put another way, I’ve worked at that job for 2,030 days.

Over the course of those 2,030 days I’ve learned to be a pretty good collector. I’ve learned how do deal with spending all day talking with people that are really not happy to be talking with me. I’ve learned to ignore the hostility, lies, and general rudeness of most of the debtors I’m to convince to pay their student loans. I’ve learned the requirements of my company’s various clients; what they will and will not accept as part of an acceptable repayment arrangement. I’ve learned that despite what most debtors seem to think, most Guaranteed Student Loan Companies are willing to bend over backwards to negotiate a repayment arrangement (thank all gods that are, or ever were, that I don’t collect credit card debt, that’s a whole different ball of wax), and I’ve learned how to deal with the constantly changing office dynamics.

I worked the second shift tonight, and tonight I was reminded of what I have not learned in 2,030 days of working in that office: I’ve not learned to keep my mouth shut when one of my coworkers is out to save my soul.

I very rarely discuss politics – mundane politics – on this blog. To my knowledge I’ve never discussed relegion, here, and I don’t really plan to start. I have my beliefs, and I take them very seriously. I also take the beliefs of my friends that read this blog seriously. I respect all people’s right to their religious beliefs, and I will not try preach to, or change anyone’s beliefs. I don’t expect others to believe as I do, nor do I feel a need to “convert” anyone. I am more than willing to discuss my beliefs, and the beliefs of others with respect and with genuine interest. What I am not willing to do is put up with people that are trying to convert me.

Now, several of the people that work in my office are members of COGIC, The Church of God In Christ.  Apparently it is a basic teaching of this church that they should try to convert other’s to their  belief, and today one of them tried to convert me. It didn’t go well.

Think about it, I am a guy that simply loves a good debate. I enjoy the skill of debate. I am also a guy that knows a great deal of the teachings of various church denominations, and of the scriptures of the bible. In other words, when it comes to a religious debate, I’m (and yes, I know this sounds arrogant, but it’s true) better armed and ready to go.

So, today one of my coworkers -let’s call her Sister Nitwit- begins a conversations with me by asking, “Cormac, do you believe in God?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you believe Christ died for your sins?”

“Um, Sister Nitwit, I really don’t think we should have this kind of conversation in the work place. ”

“Just answer the question, do you believe Christ died for your sins?”

And here is where it begins to go wrong for her, and kind of funny for me…

“Well SIster, you were warned. To answer your question, no, I don’t believe that. I mean, come on, he lived roughly 1,966 years before I was even born. Kind of hard to sin before you were born, isn’t it?”

What? Don’t you know that only true believers are going to get into heaven? It says so in the bible!” I could see at this point that she was just getting wound up, and ….to be honest, I was kind of enjoying this. I wasn’t angry or anything, but I’ve been through this kind of thing before. I knew what was about to happen. Don’t forget, I had warned her.

“Sister Nitwit, do you believe that everything written in that book,the bible,  a book that I will just mention was written quite along time after Christs death, is the word of God? Do you believe that it is all completely true?”

“Oh Lord Yes. It’s all true”

“Doesn’t it say somewhere that the only being truly capable of judging anyone is God? Doesn’t it say that one should “judge not lest ye be judged?”

“Yep, it sure does!”

“So, just a minute ago, when you implied I’d never get to Heaven, cause I’m not a true believer, weren’t you judging me? Did that mean that you had taken on the role your bible says is God’s alone?”

“Um…wait a minute…”

By this time I’m really enjoying myself, and while I could continue to describe the ways I tripped her up,  and pointed out the flaws in her logic, it wouldn’t do any good. By the time it was over I think she was probably convinced I was  Satan worshipper (I’m not, by the way). I should have just pretended to be to busy to talk. I should have just kept my mouth shut, because, and this is important, I was out numbered. And  by being better at this type of conversation that she is, I made her mad. That wasn’t really my intention, and at no point did I get angry myself. If anything, I was having fun.

She got mad though, and complained to my superior. That’s right, she got mad and complained to my superior about a conversation she started, and continued when I initially told her it wasn’t an appropriate conversation for a work place.

Now, fortunately my superior is actually pretty cool, and when I got called to his office, he was smiling when he said, “So, I hear you are trying to convert people to your heathen ways????”


Kingdom A&S

So, this past weekened was Kingdom A&S, at the Henry S. Jacobs camp in Utica, Mississippi. Since one of my best friends was the Autocrat, and his wife was the feastocrat, and since I am taking over as the local A&S officer in a month or so there was no way I was going to be missing that particular event.

I got off work at 2:00 PM Friday, and since I was already completely packed, we were able to get on the road by 4:00; we only had to make a couple of stops to pick up supplies, gas, and  some sodas to drink on the road. Leaving Memphis for any reason is always a pleasant experience, and doubly so when your destination is an SCA event. During the drive we listened to book four of the Gunslinger Series by Steven King. I’ve read that entire series, and that is my favorite book of the series. Of course, any audiobook is better than trying to listen to what passes for radio between Memphis and Jackson.

I also spent some time on the drive making some jewelry supplies. Specifically, I wound some 20 gage copper and brass wire around a 2.5mm mandrel, and then cut the rings. Good gods, those are small rings. I’m afraid I’ll go blind if I try and make anything with them. Sometimes I hate getting old.

We got to the camp about 8:30, and thats when the magic started. We got trolled in quickly, and just as quickly got our gear unloaded. I spent the rest of the night hanging out and helping at Troll. After Mistress Beaumont went to bed I ran the troll table myself until Jane came back at 7:00 AM. I love working troll, and I specifically love working the late night shifts. There is always someone to talk to most of the time, and even when everyone else goes to bed, when I’m sitting there by myself, I like knowing that I got to see the camp go to bed, and I’ll get to see it wake up in the morning. I also like that no matter what time someone arrives, there will be a person awake to great them, and tell them where they can bed down. There never are many people that late, but there are always a few.

Once people started to wake up Saturday morning, the day actually passed very quickly. The Breakfast Crew came into the hall and quickly had a great breakfast ready. The Scones were particularly excellent. I spent most of the morning doing what I do best (and enjoy most), talking with friends I’d not seen since the last big event.

I did at one point actually go into the room where the various entries in the A&S competition were set up and looked at them. DAMN! They all were amazing, and some of them were  simply…..Hell, I don’t have the words to describe how impressive some of them were. The Collar of State that Sir Loric and Thomas the Smith did was stunning.

Eventually it was time for Court, and as always that was fun. I particuarly enjoyed seeing the look on the face of Baronness Roz (and yes, I know that is not her correct SCA name, but it IS the one I know how to spell) when she heard she was going to be elevated to the Laruel.

The feast was excellent. Ceridwen and her crew put out a feast that was  enjoyed by everyone. I particularly enjoyed the fact that due to some carefull planning I was able to sit with  both my households. House 3 Dragons and House Candlefort all sat together, and we had a blast. During feast, when they brought the Feastcrat out to complement her, Ceridwen also found out that she would soon be elevated to the order of the Laurel.

Sunday was just packing up, helping clean up the site, and then having lunch with about 12 of my closest friends before heading home. A truly excellent event.

Wednesday night musings

The week is half over, and my mind is blank.

I don’t particularly want to use this blog to talk about politics; I particularly don’t want to do that during an election year. Don’t get me wrong, I think the election is very serious, but I despise when people try and tell me what to think, and I’m not going to try and tell anyone else want to think. I will, however, ask that everyone that reads this does take part; does vote. It is important to take part.

I also don’t want to bore you with rantings about my job. Fact is, that particular subject is not all that interesting: Some people borrow money and just don’t think they have to repay it. It is my job to collect the money they don’t want to pay. It involves arguing with people 8 hours a day, every day. Fortunately I’m fairly good at arguing with people; I like arguing with people. Of course I would much rather be having an intellectually stimulating debate with another person that enjoys the art and skill of debate, but that is not what I get paid for.  I get paid to argue with folks that are trying to avoid paying their debt. I’ve had worse jobs.

After work, I spent about an hour running erronds and paying bills. Once that was done I even had enough money left over to fill my truck with gas. What’s more I’ve got money left over to pay for attending Kingdom A&S this weekend. I’m rather looking forward to that, it will be the first KA&S I’ve ever attended. We should be hitting the road about 3:00 Friday afternoon, headed for Utica.

I don’t have any “official” job  or staff position at this event, which is kind of unusual. I plan on spending Friday night and most of the morning Saturday working troll. One of my closest friends is the autocrat of the event, so I’ve told him I’ll be available for whatever he needs help with. Other than that, I plan to spend the weekend hanging out and talking with friends. I may even take a class or three, and, of course, take a look at the items on display. Should be a great deal of fun.

In other news, I’ve been making a lot of jewelry recently. I made a bunch of bracelets and gave them to Barnoness Mahsheed to use as largesse. I’m still working on making chains for all the members of The Order of the Diamond Chalice, but I’m running low on black, red, and silver colored rings, I have to order some more. Lately I’ve begun to get interested in expanding my skill set into some decorative knotwork type stuff, like the stuff Stormdrane shows off in his blog.
I’ve been looking at several sites lately that feature people doing that type of work, and it fascinates me. The whole subject of knots, and rope, has begun to fascinate me lately. Think about it, rope has to be one of the most basic of tools, one of the most versatile of tools,  but I know nothing about the history of it.

Oh shit, I think I’ve just found a research topic.

Just not feeling it tonight.

Sorry folks, I just don’t have anything to write about tonight. I haven’t felt up to par all day; took a sick day in fact. I’m sincerely hoping I feel better tomorrow. I can’t afford to take two days off work, and I need to be healthy by the weekend. There is no way in hell I’ll miss Kingdom A&S. I have people depending on me to be there.

Price Gouging Scumm

Author comment: I don’t normally cuss much in this blog, but tonight I’m so mad I don’t think I’ll  be able to avoid doing so. You have been warned. Read on at your own risk.

When I drove to work today most of the gas stations I passed were selling regular unleaded for 3.45 a gallon. Ten hours later, when I drove home, most were selling at 3.99. That is a price increase of .54 cents a gallon in only ten bloody hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let me repeat that;That is a price increase of .554 cents a gallon in only ten bloody hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, a major hurricane is pounding Texas. Yes, that hurricane has caused the temporary shutdowns of several offshore oil rigs, tempermentally interupting their production. Yes, I agree, this is bad. Yes, I worry greatly for those in the path of the hurricane and hope they make it through safely….

But here’s the thing: the temporary loss of production of “crude” oil, can not be affecting the price of the already refined oil currently on sale at the pump. It has already been refined, and shipped to market.

This is nothing more than price gouging by the oil companies. The same oil companies that have been reporting record profits over the last four years as they raise the cost of gas to levels never seen before in this country.

Pardon me, I can’t contain this any longer…..

Dear Oil Comany Executives, You are all scum sucking, leperous dogs. You probably all have carnal relations with dead baboons. I hope you enjoy your obsene profits, you are going to need the money hire people to pull your oversized heads out of your own rectums…

I feel somewhat better now.

I could understand if the steady rise in gas prices was due to some kind of external cause, like the OPEC oil embargo of the early seventies. But it’s not. No, this is nothing more than oil company hyeneas feeding on the American public.

Of course, the American public has contributed to the problem. The desire for huge SUV’s, the constant refusal to actually to develop alternative fuel technologies….There is plenty of blame to go around, I know that, but right now, at this instant, let’s focus on the price gouging we are seeing today. This is obsene, and I pray the goverment comes down on these crooks like  a metric ton of bricks.

Of course, with this current administration, the chances of that happening are slim to none. One can hope, but that is all one can do.

Afterward: I guess I didn’t cuss as much as I thought I would. God knows I wanted to, but what would the point be?


Wednesday Reflections

I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already. I also can’t believe that I don’t really have anything to write about tonight. I guess I’ll just have to find something……

…Meditates for five minutes….

Ok, Wednesday is the day I try and post a reivew of some kind. I’ve not seen any movies recently, and I posted about couple of television shows on Sunday. I’ve not been reading anything particularly interesting lately, so the review theme is going to get dropped, and we’ll just skip ahead to the normal theme for Friday; the SCA.

Today has been a bit of a bummer when it comes to my SCA plans. A month ago I found an absolutely beautiful site for a weekend event in north Missippi: Tombigbee State park, in Tupelo.

What makes it a perfect site? Let’s see:
1. 160 beds in climate controlled cabins
2. Four “private” cabin rooms that would be perfect for royals, or event staff.
3. Four huge rooms with fire places that would be perfect for classrooms or meeting rooms.
4. More than adequate shower and bathroom facilities
5. Huge hall that could easily seat 200 for feast (along with supplied tables and chairs)
6. Really cool amphitheater down by the lake with a small stage
7. A huge permanent outdoor covered pavilion with a concrete floor.
8. Huge flat field large enough that it could be split in two sections: one for camping and one for a fighting/list field.

and most important….

9. A park staff that is looking to drum up business, and seems to be willing to negotioate price and work with the SCA.

Perfect, right? Easily day trippable from Memphis, Jackson, Starkville, and (admittedly a bit of a stretch) from Little Rock.

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, my favorite SCA activity is running events. The last event I had the pleasure of autocratting was Candlemass, and since then I’ve not had an active bid working on any event. I’m going through withdrawl. I saw this site, and my instant thought was, “Spring Crown List”.

It took a couple of weeks, but I found a feastcrat, and had  put together most of the event staff. The last thing I needed to do was call the site and confirm that it would be available the weekend of Crown List. That’s were the problem came in. “Already booked, would any other weekend work?”, was all the Ranger said this afternoon when I called.

Well, that sucks. Got the staff, just need a site. The search continues. I’ve got to get a bid on an event soon or I’ll begin to get bored. I tend to do really stupid things when I get bored – but that’s a post for a different time.

Oh well, the search goes on. I’ll call the St. Columba confrence center tomorrow; it’s a nice site; not as nice as Tombigbee, but definitely usable. I’m also going to check out Singleton Community Center tomorrow; it has possibilities as a site for single day events. I’ll check it out, see if we can afford it, and report back to the group. Hell, finding new sites is almost, almost as much fun as running the events themelves.


Finding Treasures

Another day ends, and I’m still feeling good. I find it unusually pleasant to be able to say that on a Monday. Let’s face it, only masochists actually enjoy Monday. So, anytime I can get through the worst day of the week and still be feeling good, well, that is a good thing.

The weekend was surprisingly productive; got a lot accomplished on a couple of projects, but I’m most pleased by the work I’ve gotten done on de-cluttering my living area. I finished my bedroom and got started on the bathroom this weekend. I’ve still got a lot left to do; regaining control of this house will be a project that takes a while. What makes me proud, makes me feel good, is that I can see that I am making progress. That visible progress helps me maintain the self discipline to keep going.

For the past three weeks I’ve been focusing on cleaning my bedroom. I’ve gone through and eliminated over half of the items in my closet.  I’ve also gone though all the boxes of stuff I had stored in  my closet, the boxes and tubbies stacked along one wall. I’ve also cleaned out the two junk drawers in my dressers. Most of the stuff I tossed from the closet  were pieces of clothing I’ve been holding on to for far to long. The stuff in the boxes and tubbies, and in the junk drawers was mostly…well, it mostly crap I took each box, tubby, or drawer  and removed everything inside. Each item got examined individually, and a choice on whether to keep or toss was made. Quite frankly, most of it got tossed. If I hadn’t  used it in the last year, it got tossed.

Well, the “have I used this in the past year?” test determined the fate of most of the items in those boxes. The three cases of cassette tapes, none of which I’ve listened to in at least ten years? Tossed. The box of assorted commputer cables and other related odds and ends I’ve not needed in the last six years? Gone. The files of class notes from college?: Out of here.

I’ve compared this de-cluttering process to an archeological dig recently, and that is an apt description. The most recent items were on top, and as I dug down through the stacks of boxes, through the layers of stuff inside the boxes, I was literally digging through my past. Most of the items were no longer relevent to my life, so, as mentioned above, they got tossed. Just as most of the items found at any archeological dig are trash, literally. The trash reveals a lot about a culture, but it’s not what one would consider a treasure. Occasionaly, both in “real” archeological digs, and in my personal dig, treasures are found.

The first treasure I found was a small stuffed animal, a buffalo, that my sister gave me about ten years ago for my birthday. She was not the first person to tell me that I’m difficult to buy a gift for (a description that I heartily disagree with – how hard is it to get a gift certificate to a bookstore?), and that year she had commented a couple of times that was, “as stubborn as an ox.” So, on my birthday she handed me a wrapped box that contained this little stuffed buffalo and said, “this was the closest thing I could find to an ox. Love you, bro”. I’m not sure how long it’s been in that box; I remember displaying it in the apartment in Decautur, but I can’t really remember having it at the apartment in Nashville. It’s now sitting on top of the two reference books I keep on my desk (dictionary and thesaurus). It also led to me calling her Sunday afternoon and having a long, pleasant conversation.

The next box contained two treasures: a fake stone gargoyle statue, about six inches high and as ugly as homemade sin, and a bear figurine. The bear was a gift from my Mom, and I can’t remember how long I’ve had it. It is now guarding the top left corner of my book case. The Gargoyle? I got that from friend about  seven years ago. For reasons I never did really understand, his name is Fred. It’s ugly, as gargoyles are, and he is now guarding the second shelf in my book case.

I know that by keeping thse three little nick-nacks, I am kind of violating the concept of getting rid of things I don’t use. The whole purpose of de-cluttering is to simplify, to get rid of stuff. I know all that, but there are different ways to use things. The buffalo reminds me of of my sister, of what a great person she is, what a unique sense of humor she has. The bear does the same job, reminding me of my Mom. Fred, the gargoyle, reminds me of a friend I’ve not seen in years, and the fun we had. These three little items serve as visual reminders of the most important things in life; they remind me of friends and family. That is plenty of reason to keep anything.

That’s all for tonight.


Couple of shows to check out….

It’s late Sunday night, and I feel good. I’ve had a particularly excellent weekend, and I’m looking forward to a good week. I don’t really have a lot to post about tonight, but I did want to mention a couple of new television series I noticed this week. 

The first, Sons of Anarchy , on the FX network is about an outlaw motor cycle gang. The pilot episode was interesting, and it has some major talent in it. The main character, Jax, is played by someone I’ve never heard of, but his step father is played by Ron Pearlman, and his mother is played by Katey Sagal. That’s right, Peg Bundy, in this show, is a biker mama. I didn’t recognize her at first, and when I did finally realize where I had seen her before it was quite a suprise. The first episode was interesting enough that I’ll watch the next few episodes just to see if it maintains the same quality. If nothing else, it’s something to look forward to on Wednesday night.

Trueblood is the new HBO series based on Charlene Harris’s Southern Vampire series. I have to admit that I really don’t like much of the “vampire literature” published these days. Anne Rice and Laurel K. Hamilton have a great number of sins to answer for, but I do like this series. How can you not like a vampire series set in a small Lousianna town called Bon Temps? How can you not like a series that has vampires, were-creatures (my preferred monster), and a very interesting explanation for the reported sighings of Elvis over the last 30 years? I don’t claim Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas and the other books in the Southern Vampire  series are great literature, but they are fun, quick reads that are a good way to kill a few hours. 

I was kind of worried when I found out that HBO was making a series out the books; I was afraid they would change the setting, characters, etc. However, after watching the premier episode this evening, I was pleasantly surprised. A couple of the actors chosen for the main characters did not look as I had imagined them, but the casting of Anna Paquin as the main character, Sookie Stackhouse, was perfect. She played the character exactly as it is described in the books. I will definetly be watching the rest of the series, and I’ll be interested in seeing how far it progresses beyond the books. 

Now, if Showtime would just hurry up with the next season of Dexter.