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.

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.


Small things…

It looks like Hurricane Gustav didn’t harm any of my friends. Thank god for small favors. Now if they can just make it through the other three hurricanes currently winding their way across the Gulf, I’ll be happy.

So far this has been a good week; much better than I had expected to be honest. Normally the work week following a holiday is unusually hectic, and that pattern is holding true. What is different this week is that it has been both hectic and productive. That combination doesn’t happen often.

Last night’s SCA Business meeting was a pleasant surprise. Usually our business meetings are long, unproductive, and somewhat argumentative. We meet at Southwest State Tech, and this semester there are classes meeting in the rooms on either side of the room we use, and that has proven to be a good thing; it means we have to keep the meetings relatively quiet. We can’t get involved in loud, vociferous, pointless arguments over minor issues; unfortunately we can get involved in quiet, vociferous, pointless arguments over minor issues. That didn’t happen last night. Somehow we managed to stay on track, focussed, and the discussions were productive. I live for the day when all of our meetings could be described in that manner.

After the meeting the Dragons had dinner at the new Lonestar restaurant. As usual, there were about nine of us, and as usual, we had a pretty good time. We always have a good time when we are together. The unusual part was the fact that we had both good service, and a good meal.

We go out for dinner after every meeting, and it is not all unusual for there to be 8-10 of us. We know that no restaurant staff wants to see such a large group come in, and because we know that we go out of our way to make things as easy as possible for the waiter or waitress that has to serve us. Unfortunately, all to often we get service that could best be described as incompetant. Sometimes we get service that is just bad: meals given to the wrong customer, not prepared as requested, long wait times between drinks being refilled, etc. etc.

None of that happened last night. The place had only been opened for a couple of weeks, but you would have thought it had been opened for years. Our waitress, Jen,  was professional, knowledgable, and, most important, friendly. She got all the orders to the right customers, the  food was prepared exactly as ordered, and she kept all of our drinks filled.

At one point the Manager came by the table to check that everything was ok, and all nine of us made a point of telling her what an excellent job the waitress was doing and how pleased we all were. It was quite apparent that the manager was not used to people going out of their way to compliment her staff, and she took great delight in telling her waitress that we had complimented her professionalism and friendliness. It’s amazing how such a small thing, just telling someone they are doing a good job, can mean so much to people. As we were leaving Jenn came by and said, “If you guys ever come back, ask for my section, I’d love to be your server again. You guys made my day”.

No one thinks twice about complaining when they receive bad service, however, we often forget to give compliments when the service is good, and I personally think that is more important. Managers are used to hearing complaints – some justified, some not- but it has been my experience that very few are used to hearing compliments. When they do, it surprises them, and they are always eager to pass it on to their staff. Such a small thing can really make somebody’s day.


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.