Archive for February, 2007

Ren Festivness

This weekend I went down south to hit the Ren Fest down there. I have to say, I think I had more fun this year than I have in a while, despite the fact that I didn’t have the time to make garb and my old stuff, with the exception of what I wore to ICC and didn’t want to wear there, no longer fits. Regardless, I went in mundane clothing and still had a great time.

Bought two new sculptures from my friend Jason Bakutis whom I only really see once a year, but happen to think he’s an incredible artist and love to buy his work. Unfortunately, the pieces I bought this year aren’t pictured on his site, but I’ll make an effort to actually take a few pictures of them, and maybe his other stuff I’ve bought over the years, and post them here. Otherwise, he’s doing really well. He just got accepted to one of the top five art schools in the country and will be going for a degree related to 3d digital art (see his section in the Galleries on Maya 3d and ZBrush), so he’s excited.

Otherwise, we tried to see as many shows as we could this year. We saw the Minstrels of Mayhem (Ahem!) twice as they are one of our favorite acts. For one of their songs, a traditional tune called “Beer,” I was a volunteer to be part of the Drunken Men’s Choir, which was a blast as it involved being on stage, bouncing, and swinging my arm to a tune I love to hear while drinking from the yard of beer I happened to have with me. I ended up buying one of their CDs (for once) and have already listened to it all the way through. It is fantastic. I went to their website and decided on the next two I want to get. Mary was a little disappointed because the one CD with both of her favorite songs from them on it (“The Window,” and “The Rattlin’ Bog”) was the only CD they didn’t have with them, but I’ll just order it online, so no big deal there. Melodio cut this hair, though! That disappointed me. At least Pompadore’s is still long.

During the Pub Sing at the end I got a taste of the acts I didn’t get to see during the day, and that was great. The Minstrels of Mayhem (Ahem!) were hosting the thing, but most of the other acts were there to perform a song. There were quite a few new shows this year. The Naughty Nymphs, who were never particularly wonderful despite their otherwise attractive name, were replaced with this three woman a Capella group called The Limeybirds who were just prodigious. Not only were they very, very cute (all three of them), but they had excellent voices and did what I could say was easily the most entertaining version of “Sweet Violets” I’d ever heard (with great lyric changes). Of the non-singing variety, there was a short demonstration by a comedy acrobatic show called Barely Balanced who were so very talented. And flexible. God, were they flexible.

Finally, they wrapped up the Pub Sing and the Festival for the day with everyone getting on stage and leading the audience in a rendition of “Health to the Company” which is always fun to sing in large groups, and we headed off. There was some other stuff during the day, but these were my favorite parts.

That night I went to the South Florida Requiem game, which was a lot of fun as well. I actually was able to do things. Like, real things, things that had an effect on the plot. And I wasn’t singled out for this, either. Everyone was able to do things. I’m looking forward to running scenes. Plus it was nice to see the people down there, as they are all a lot of fun to hang out with. Cellshade‘s decided that we need to start a band, especially since Dexeron just got his bass guitar in the mail, an idea that actually makes me tingle a little bit inside. We need to do this soon, though, “before we’re old and it’s just pathetic,” to use Cellshade‘s words.

Learning things

So, I got a new book on Arthurian legend for Christmas that I just started reading, and have to say it’s fantastic. It is so amazingly full of information I’m not sure my brain can hold it all. However, there are a few things I’ve learned that are only marginally related to the study of the Arthurian mythos.

For example, I have decided on the exact order with which I hate the languages spoken in Britain and its surrounding areas during the fourth to seventh centuries. That list is below.


That may change a bit, but the only language coming out of the British isles and surrounding areas that I really like (as opposed to tolerate for the purpose of my passion) is English, which didn’t really come out of the British isles.

I have also learned that the Monty Python people were even more learned than I suspected. Since I’ve been studying the historical roots of the Arthur legend, I’ve found so many references hidden in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. For example, it is mentioned that Sir Robin “personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon Hill.” That particular battle is often associated with the Arthur stories. At it, a great leader of some sort lead several of the then divergent and antagonistic British kingdoms in a fight against the Saxon invaders that defeated them such that there was 25 years of relative peace in which they were unable to mount another offensive. According to the Welsh Annals, this event happened in 518 and that leader was a man named Arthur who “[carried] the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ for three days and three nights on his shoulders and the Britons were the victors.” There’s no mention of this event in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, but that’s not surprising since the Saxons didn’t like to record their defeats. The problem, of course, is that it is difficult to corroborate this event with other sources, and are actually contradicted by even more sources.

There are other, similar references throughout the film.

I won’t go into the actual stuff I’ve learned here, since there’s a ton and I haven’t finished the first 100 pages, but those are my thoughts at current.

My mind is my own, and I will control it’s movements.

I don’t know what it is, but I like the strangest people. A few weeks ago I realized that despite my mission, I’m actually somewhat fond of Salomon and his insanity. I’m sure I can compartmentalize should I need to but what if I can’t? You will.

Roger is very much like that as well. He has a suburban charm about him that is in no way attractive, but soothing none the less. I can remember meeting him for the first time.

Upon moving to South Florida, I managed to find a place to live very quickly so as not to be in the immediate area of the Prince’s control. The small estate on the Intercoastal served my purposes not only by fitting a man of the station I was portraying, but also by cutting off an easy point of access that one might have available to a house that was not bordered on one side by water. The moving vans and newly-purchased furniture had been delivered during the day, so as the sun set I drove to my new Haven.

As I pulled into the smooth slate driveway, I noted that the house should be surrounded by a wall. Nothing too foreboding, but something that would deter causal onlookers, vandals, girl scouts, etc. In my mind I began planning the invisible security measures that wall would entail as I scanned the area to take a more accurate measure of the size I would have to work with. It was in that moment of hesitation that Roger spotted me.

He was wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. The beard on his round face did nothing to draw attention away from the baldness of his head, his hairline having receded to the point of being visible only as he walked away. Socks and sandals with an awkward gait like a robot who had not been gifted with proper knee joints, and he was walking toward me with a simple, toothy smile and his hand stuck out. Trying not to draw suspicion on myself, I smiled as well and caught his hand once it got into range as much to be friendly as to stop his forward motion so he didn’t crash into me.

“Hi there.” He shook my hand with an exuberance I rarely encountered anymore. “Roger Stevens. Looks like we’re going to be neighbors.”

“Looks like it, Roger. I’m Nick Taggart, I just moved in.” With people like Roger it’s always best to mimic the chief aspect of their greeting. In his case, it was stating the obvious.

“Great….great.” He pulled back his hand and wiped the sweat from his palms on his shirt. His desire to be a good neighbor, likely just like his father, clearly overrode his ability to come up with something to say after he’d introduced himself. “So, Nick, what’s your business?”

I continued to smile. If I was to live next door to this person, I’d have to be as disarming as possible, especially considering the fact that plenty of strange things would be happening here pretty soon. I had no intention of breaching the Masquerade, but the landscape of a six-figure a year income community doesn’t allow for much deviation from certain societal norms. I had factored that in before moving here, but the other options for a Haven didn’t provide nearly the benefits that this one did, and I was confident I could find at least one person to represent me to the neighbors as an eccentric rather than a danger. In Roger I saw a face man, though I admit in retrospect that I did and still do find his company enjoyable.

“I’m an investor, largely working in transportation. How about you?”

“Transportation, you say? This must be fate then. I’m the Assistant Director of Operations for Port Everglades. We’re going to be working together quite a bit if you plan to move things through there.” He seemed genuinely happy about this idea. I could see the thoughts in his head of us meeting halfway between the houses, me letting him know what to expect, him signing paperwork to “help a neighbor.” I would have to ask Felipe which loa was responsible for bringing good luck, because they would be getting one hell of an offering from me.

“You’re kidding! This must be fate, alright. Do you live alone, Roger?”

“Me?” He blew air out of his mouth in a half-laughed dismissal. “No, I’m an old married man. Wife and two kids. Shelly, my wife, has my son and they’re picking my youngest up from girl scouts right now.” So much for avoiding the cookie mafia. It’s not like I actually eat the damn things. Oh well, I can afford to outsell anyone else in a year and keep myself in good with a possible new ally. “How about you?”
“Confirmed old bachelor, Roger. No time in my life for a family right now.” Roger smiled as I said this. He wore that knowing, longing look that married men unconsciously master when encountered with somebody who still has the freedom they lack and the youth to enjoy it.

“Well, you should come over and meet mine! We’re having a barbecue this Sunday, why don’t you stop by around noon?” He bent back a little to laugh. Though I didn’t need the air, I sucked a breath in through my teeth as if I had just remembered something. I knew this would come eventually and already had my story planned.

“I’d love to, Roger, but there’s a little problem. You’re…I don’t know. We just met and I’m worried you’ll find it a little strange.” By making it seem as if a lack of acceptance is a fault, I could ensure I would be accepted. “You see, I have this problem.”

His face dropped a little, the genuine nature of his smile replaced with a fearful mask of painted joy. I didn’t need to read his mind to know what he was thinking. “What is wrong with this person? Will it endanger my children? Why doesn’t he want to talk about it? Better say something, Roger, or he’ll know you’re afraid.”

“Problem?” He disguised his fear with a joke, “You’re not a vegetarian, are you?” I admit, he covered himself pretty well. Somebody less observant would have almost thought he didn’t have a moment of hesitation.

“Yea. You see, I have photosensitivity. Basically, it means I’m allergic to sunlight. I can’t go out during the day or I suffer from something called Polymorphous Light Eruption and get these terrible hives…” I added a small shudder for effect. The false smile turned immediately into a genuine frown. While I’m sure he was actually concerned, I’m equally as sure that in a small, secret corner in his brain, there was a party going on thrown by the yuppie-early-GenXer in him that wanted to be nice on a day-to-day basis to somebody with a handicap so he can feel better about himself and brag at the office. That was the part of him I was targeting. He’d rather not question my activities than come off as insensitive to my disability.

Roger raised his harry arm and put a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. How about this, why don’t we move the barbecue to a dinner time and we’ll grill out under the stars?” I knew then that I had him. “How do you like your steak?”

“Bloody, and I’ll be there.” I smiled and waved as I watched my stereotypically suburban neighbor stumble back to his house, high on life and endlessly proud of himself.

Since then I’ve cultivated my friendship with Roger as best I could. I make sure to bring toys for his kids. I’m nice to his wife and lightly flirt with her on occasion. I attend night-time events with him and his family when I have the time. I never built that wall. And now that Lorenzo needs to ship things into the country, I have somebody who can clear all the paperwork. I’d call this an asset worth developing.

Three cars and a boat passed by. The boat’s owner is clearly on his way home from the chattering teeth, but likely afraid of getting a ticket in a no wake zone and won’t move faster.

Another good thought

&nbsp&nbsp&nbspT he bond
that links your true family
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp is not one of blood, but
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp of respect and joy in
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp each other’s life.

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspRarely do members
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp of one family grow up
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp under the same
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp roof.

– Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul

Just a Thought

Here is
a test to find
whether your mission on earth
is finished:
If you’re alive,
it isn’t.