dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 07:45pm on 2007-07-27 under ,

Finished all the shopping except last-minute groceries that I'll pick up in Cranberry. Finished all but one of the "out" errands I needed to do (not counting the one I couldn't do because I didn't get to the Post Office before it closed). Now I just need to finish the in-the-house stuff I need to do before leaving, and get all of my stuff into the truck.

[info] anniemal gave me an ace bandage yesterday for my wrist. I should have been wearing it this afternoon. I'll definitely put it on before loading the truck.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)

A bit of a grab-bag entry (er ... as though that's anything unusual) as I try to get ready for Pennsic.

Baitcon: I mentioned that there were lots of folks I was glad to see, and that the "folks I don't see often enough" category is too large. There were too many members of that category present for me to get to talk to everyone I wanted to. I'm glad of the chance to catch up with the ones I did manage to. I really need to plan a road trip to Boston (and several other places) once I have a car again.

On the whole I had a great time -- meteorological, culinary, musical, and social aspects were all wonderful -- and my body only "stole time" from me by forcing me to rest-more-than-healthy-people when I would rather have been making music or being social, rather than wiping out my weekend entirely. It was frustrating but I'm trying to recalibrate my expectations. (Much like the past couple years at Pennsic where I've had to pace myself in such a way that I get about a week worth of Pennsic in the two weeks spent there. Getting more folks to come hang out in my camp would help summat.)

After Baitcon: my right wrist has been excruciatingly painful since sometime on the way home from Baitcon. :-( Enough so that perhaps it's just as well that miscommunication interfered with my getting to 3LF rehearsal this week. I did find a position in which I can play bass guitar without aggravating it farther, but I'm not sure I can play double bass right now, and really vigorous strumming on guitar (like I do in HCB) would be a major problem. I've no idea what I did to it, and am feeling rather impatient about its healing, since I'm concerned about being able to play when it's time to perform.

Pennsic whoops: The somewhat Rube Goldberg shipping arrangements for a package I need from London, Ontario fell through. (The "fault", if one can be said to exist, lies more with the fragility of a plan involving so many steps, rather than the failure of any one person trying to do me a favour; also, my own lack of foresight in getting things moving early enough to compensate for glitches.) This has the potential to make my Pennsic significantly uncomfortable. I don't suppose there's anyone who could arrange to bring me two weeks worth of certain Canadian goods on such short notice? (Specifically the generic version of Reactine [Zyrtec] which I know I'm going to want in that dusty, smoky environment, and codeine+caffeine+acetaminophen tablets [unless a version with ibuprofen instead of aceteminophen exists], which I very much hope not to need, but am very likely to given that Pennsic is a bit rough on my body. The Reactine has to be the plain version, without any decongestant -- 10mg tablets preferred, though I can double up on 5mg pills or use a pill-splitter to chop 20mg ones in half.)

And not really a 'whoops', though I do wish I'd thought to ask earlier than this: is there anybody in my area (Baltimore) not going to Pennsic, who has a 12V deep-cycle battery that I could borrow for two weeks? Merely a convenience, as opposed to the rather more pressing medical needs in the preceeding paragraph, but hey, if it works out ...

And a little-whoops: I'm still looking to trade a 128MB Memory Stick Pro that I can't use (actually it's a Pro Duo in an adapter) for a 128MB or even a 64MB Memory Stick not-'Pro' that I can use. I meant to try to arrange such a trade for Baitcon but forgot.

Not related to anything in particular (1): Every so often a friend sets up, or tweaks, their custom filters to show journal entries on different topics to different people, and there's usually a round of "which filters do you want to be on?". If I'm actually getting around to reading everything and commenting that week, I usually say something like this, which I'll borrow [info] emeraldliz's words for because they're more concise than mine:

"I get tired of people deciding they suddenly need a dozen friends lists and asking people if they want to be on them. If I'm a friend- it's cuz I want to read your stuff. If you don't want me to read it, that's up to you. If I don't want to read it, it's up to me."

Note that I don't expect everyone on my friendslist who decides a month or a year or a decade from now to remember the Published Filter Policy of every person on their friendslist, so therefore I am not demanding that this statement be remembered and taken into account, but I figure I may as well at least put it out there just in case.

Actually, if there were an "add this user-plus-tag" option when friending someone or adding them to one of your own reading filters, then tags could be used to push the whole "opt-in filter" concept into the reader's sphere-of-control. (Even better would be that plus "except if this tag is present" as options, so that I could exclude certain only-occasionally-interesting and usually verbose subjects fom my "busy" reading filter, while still leaving them on my default view. It would have to be user+tag, not just tag-regardless-of-user, because different people use the same tag different ways.) As I've observed before, I'm sure there are folks who would like to be able to subscribe to my QotD entries without getting the rest of my journal.

Not related to anything in particular (2): I was thinking last week about what's nice about being in a place where lots of guys are wearing kilts, and was reminded of it at Baitcon when somebody made an appreciative comment about men in skirts (kilts and otherwise): It's been quite adequately demonstrated that a large percentage of women really like seeing men in kilts or in skirted garments in general. Not all of these women will be attracted to me, but in an environment where there are lots of kilts being worn, the odds are that for each woman present, there will be at least one guy she finds distractingly attractive wearing a kilt within visual range. So women at such events tend to be, if not exactly aroused per se, at least a little ... "revved up", "sparkly", happy, tittilated. And even when they're not looking at me, that energy is perceptible, and I find that energy, that undercurrent of awareness-of-aroused-females-of-my-species pervading the environment, to be pleasurable in itself. I like being around aroused women. It feels nice. A pleasant glow for an empath.

Really, I've never quite understood why so relatively few cisgendered American guys (outside of the Pagan community, Celtic festivals, medieval reenactment contexts, and the contradance scene) choose to wear unbifurcated garments, given how positively -- and usually quite openly so -- many women respond when they see men wearing such things. (Admittedly, I first noticed the connection as a side effect of being transgendered, but I eventually would've caught on from being at medieval events and Scottish events, and would have realized as several of my friends and acquaintances appear to have, that kilts tend to please the ladies.)

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:20pm on 2007-07-19 under , ,

Okay, it should quickly become obvious that I'm not camping in Enchanted Ground[*] ...

The latest American Science & Surplus catalog arrived in todays snailmail. "Oh, right," I thought, "they sell photovoltaic solar cells! I've been meaning to look up whether it'd be cost effective to get some of those for Pennsic."

Eep! On p.52, a panel rated at 12V/1A that they said they got 19V/750mA out of unloaded ... on sale for $144.50. %wince% Okay, not in the cards for this year, and probably not any of the next several years for me, unless I can find a way to turn it into a profit-generating thang as well as an electricity-generating thang. So looking up whether their shipping could get it to me before I leave or not became moot.

OTOH, they've got a bunch of rechargeable batteries for what looks like good prices so far (i.e., before checking the AH:price ratio of car batteries down the street at Advance Auto Parts): 6V/12AH Pb-acid $7.50, 15ct. "grab bag" assortment of NiCd $3.95, 10 AA NiCd packaged together as 12V/1AH (but easily cut apart to use as individual cells, so maybe I should get these for me DigiCam (but I'd better check the camera's manual to see whether it warns against using NiCd cells)) $5.95, single AA 1.2V/2100mAH NiMH $2.25 (I think those are $13.95 per 4-pack at Rite Aid -- dunno about other local retailers).

The main thing I'm pondering how to run is rated at 5V/2A (I tried four NiCd D-cells and got less than two hours), so either the 6V/12AH Pb battery plus enough solar cells to both recharge the battery and run the device (not cost effective), or a much better idea of how often I'll actually want to be making active use of the device to get a better idea of charge/drain times (not enough info just yet), would be useful. I think the grand plan there will wait a bit longer to get into seriously trying to implement it.

So the secondary concern is wanting to extend the life of the battery+inverter I'll be leeching off of to recharge my PDA and cell phone (and the laptop I borrow, if I do borrow one) and to help me feel less guilty about leeching off of [info] syntonic_comma's battery (I do wish I'd remembered to yank the battery from my car before it was towed). Of course, being able to skip the inverter stage would help ... the catalog list a "7-cell Li-ion pack" with an assortment of connectifiers and output switchable "between 3V/6A up to 8.4V/2A" (I hope they mean there arew a bunch of voltages available in between the two extremes) but it doesn't list an AH rating, which makes it harder to judge the cost-effectiveness ... and neither my phone nor my PDA has a nice, standard, barrel or phone connector for power. (I can charge either directly from 12VDC with a cigarette lighter socket -- easy enough to wire up if I get a chance to swing by a Radio Shack or similar store, or if I find the one I used to use as an extender when I drove a car with a lip on the ash tray that prevented the plug from the phone I was using then from fitting into the lighter.)

Third on the list is powering the digital camera. Not wanting to drain the laptops/phones/PDA master battery for that, especially with inverter losses (wait, just how efficient are those itty bitty consumer-grade 100W inverters these days, anyhow?) I was planning to bring a Big Pile O' Batteries and just run it on alkaline AA cells when the two sets of NiMH cells I have run out. But I wonder: if I can afford to buy a mess of NiMH or Li-ion AA cells in time (and run them all through my charger), will they hold their charge long enough in the camera bag to still do me any good in the second week, or should I stick with alkaline (or maybe NiCd) for Pennsic?

Golly, if only I were going to a party known to be frequented by electronics geeks, scientists, and engineers between now and War! ;-) This sounds like a problem to discuss over ice cream, n'est-ce pas? Gotta remember to take the catalog with me to Baitcon this weekend.

(Whoah. I just noticed a 10-pack of A76 cells -- which suck in film cameras, which prefer S76, but are great in laser pointers -- for $1.50. That's less than a single cell costs at the drug store.)

[*] This footnote grew into a whole entry of its own, about the many different ways of enjoying Pennsic and how I feel about bringing electronics, which I'll post a little later this afternoon.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)


posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:35pm on 2007-06-12 under

A reminder to all who both care and procrastinate: the online preregistration deadline for Pennsic War 36 is only a couple of days away. Make sure you're counted towards your camp's land allocation.

Now if I could convince a couple of people who I'm sure would love Pennsic to finally make it out there so I can see their reactions, that'd be great.

And as long as I'm on the subject, I may as well link to my (terribly in need of updating) personal page about Pennsic.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)


posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:34pm on 2007-06-12 under

A reminder to all who both care and procrastinate: the online preregistration deadline for Pennsic War 36 is only a couple of days away. Make sure you're counted towards your camp's land allocation.

Now if I could convince a couple of people who I'm sure would love Pennsic to finally make it out there so I can see their reactions, that'd be great.

And as long as I'm on the subject, I may as well link to my (terribly in need of updating) personal page about Pennsic.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:46am on 2006-08-27 under , ,

No, I still haven't gotten around to witing a proper War report, but I'll cheat a bit and keep the topic fresh by posting bits already written. Here's what should have been posted during War.

Background for anyone who doesn't find the minutiae of my life fascinating enough to memorize everything I babble: I've got two cell phones and one SIM that I can switch between them -- there are some features I like better on one and some I like better on the other, and it's nice to be able to charge oe while carrying the other around. I took both to Pennsic in case of trouble getting access to electricity to run the charger, figuring I'd have twice as much battery to use up before it became a problem. (That wasn't an issue for more than a couple of days, as it turned out, but I'll still play "just in case" wrt availability of electricity next year.) Not having previously sent email-via-SMS from one of the phones, I didn't know that one had a configuration glitch that caused such messages to be silently dropped in the bit-bucket, until I noticed that many of the LJ entries I'd tried to post from Pennsic hadn't been posted (and started looking for a pattern).

I've got the SMS-to-email problem sorted out (with help), and thus the post-to-LJ-via-SMS problem. So now both phones can post to LJ. Fortunately, I hadn't yet deleted most of the attempted messages (one or two are gone but the rest I hadn't gotten around to). Unfortunately, only the other phone stores the timestamp of sent messages, and this one, oddly enough, does not keep the sent-messages folder in chronological order. So I'm able to post belatedly the snippets you should have seen during War, but I can only partialy restore the order/timing of them.

So here's the sound-bite view of my Pennsic, which I'm sure would have been much more interesting/entertaining if you were reading it one message at a time while I was still out there. (*sigh*).

[2006-08-06 02:38 (posted from the other phone, but truncated)]: One of [livejournal.com profile] cacie's songs has Mighty Kung-Fu Action death grip on my brain. Oh! Snoring stopped; maybe I can go [to sleep now.]

[2006-08-08 15:38 (posted from other phone, included here for continuity)]: Already declaring this a productive War: Mike and I composed a tune last night.

[Don't remember when]: Odd feeling: just woke from a dream with my inner compass askew as though someone had turned my tent 90° while I slept. [The feeling persisted five or ten minutes after waking -- I looked out my window and saw the correct view looking south, but it very strongly felt like I was looking east. Quite disconcerting until the world straightened itself out again.]

[Don't remember when; between 8:00 and 10:00 some morning]: Half shade half sunlit, difference from one end of tent to other is 25°F. 70 by bed, 95 near door. [Note: my tent is about eleven feet from end to end at the floor, a bit less where I was holding the thermometer.]

[Late 2006-08-10 or midlle of 2006-08-11]: -- Missing message about planning to play with Emory, Mike, and Bob in the bardic competition at the Chalk Man later --

[2006-08-11, between 21:00 and 23:00]: At The Chalk Man pub waiting our turn to play. Wish I had my cape.

[2006-08-11, uh, 23ish?]: Problem with going on last: desipte my best efforts to keep them warm, my fingers were COLD when we played. Frustrated.

[Nearly midnight 2006-08-11 or a few minutes into 2006-08-12]: Didn't win anything but did sell a CD.

[2006-08-12 20:23 (posted from other phone and commented on, included here for continuity)]: Apparently I am a pervert. (On account of hazelnut decaf Turkish coffee with artificial sweeteners.)

[Don't remember when]: Nice thing about being next to Clan Cambion: when drums (&pipes) elsewhere stop, we hear harps. [One of many nice things -- I would have phrased it differently, but for the length limit on SMS messages.]

[2006-08-14, 9ish]: Morning paper just arrived: already 10,470 people on site as of 16:00 yesterday.

[Probably 2006-08-14, late afternoon (if I'm remembering correctly which day it rained)]: And we have rain. Got the tent mostly covered before it got heavy; hope the remaining exposed bits aren't the ones that leak.

[Probably 2006-08-14, after dark]: Our camp was just visited by minions from Hell...Who needed our help restoring their fire.

[Some evening in the second week]: Overheard from the road just now: "Whatever happens, it's alright, because we have a designated scapegoat."

[Probably 2008-08-16; might be able to figure it out from file timestamps on borrowed laptop later]: Pennsic so far: Haven't done any shopping or made it to any classes yet, but I've composed another tune.

[Late 2006-08-16/wee hours of 2006-08-17]: -- Missing message about busking during Midnight Madness --

[2006-08-20, around 10AM, I think]: Packed & ready to go; struck tent last night due to weather forecast (since changed). Trying to nap w/o sunburn while waiting for truck. [txt msg abbr expanded to less annoying form; original barely fit in an SMS message]

So there's the sound-bite version. Proper writeup still to come.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:58am on 2006-08-23 under , ,

Two weeks ago I drove a twenty-six foot U-Haul truck (I don't recall the make, most likely GMC) for about an hour one day, a few short errands the next, and then for eight or so hours (it's not as quick a trip in a big-ass truck as it is in a car). Then I didn't drive at all for two weeks. Then I drove a twenty-four foot U-Haul GMC truck for many hours (with a handful of pauses for sleep), today driving it another hour to take it from Baltimore to northern Virginia.

So getting into my own car a few hours ago felt ... downright strange. For the first twelve minutes. And quite strange again when I got out of it and didn't have to step way down.

But wow, what a relief to be driving something that accellerates worth a damn, and handles decently at speeds over 75 MPH, again. (The 24' truck had a governor on it, I think, holding it to 70 MPH except going down steep hills. Just as well, since the handling sucked at higher speeds, so I wasn't inclined to go any faster. The 26' truck may or may not have had a governor, but the handling started getting iffy around 68 MPH so I didn't push it.)

I felt so much more comfortable once I got my car up to 75 ... which actually is the subject of a future entry I've been meaning to get around to (but not tonight -- sleepytime is too near to start that if it's going to wind up being as long as I think it will).

Though I'd passed mirrors since returning from Pennsic, an hour or so ago was the first time I actually looked at myself in one since coming back. My initial reaction was, "Whose scalp is that? It can't be mine -- it's the wrong colour." My face and scalp got more sun than I'd realized. Hey, if there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that I have Mediterranean blood, a look at me now would dispell it.

(My father was extremely fair-skinned. My siblings and I each hit different points on the line between his colour and our mother's, and tan differently as well. I think I'm about in the middle of us as far as that goes.)

Looks like I also picked up a few new freckles. (Yeah, I both tan and freckle.)

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:43pm on 2006-08-22 under , ,

I left Pennsic [I really need to update that page...] late Sunday, realized I was too tired to do the trip safely in one shot in so large a vehicle, and pulled over a few times for naps. Not great sleep in the cab of the truck, but better than trying to stay awake. Got into Baltimore yesterday afternoon and unloaded all the easy stuff -- what's left is to pull out the three 4'x8' platforms and figure out where to store them, and to figure out where to put the small refrigerator that had been atop the platforms with my stuff, 'cause that goes back to Virginia with the rest of the contents of the truck.

Between loading, driving, and unloading, I'm exhausted and achy. I still plan to go to 3LF rehearsal tonight (if I don't get the truck to Virginia beforehand, I'll have to skip out halfway through to take care of that) and HCB rehearsal tomorrow. Not sure when whether I'll get around to posting the many Pennsic-related bits I'd planned to relate here -- I also need to clear up some mundane issues, return phone calls, clean up my house, get my nails done (War was a bit hard on them), and try to catch up on sleep.

If I've recovered enough by then, I'd really like to attend the Storvik post-Pennsic revel. We'll see. For now, this much: great weather (I can only recall one War with better weather, and not by much), great to see friends (though I never made it to anyone else's camp to go visiting like I'd planned, and didn't see everyone I'd hoped to), better at pacing myself than in past years (though I've not managed to optimize that yet), some distracting drama and psychodrama and politics (both at the camp level and at the event level), a few souvenirs some war booty, sold a few CDs, got two tunes written (the aforementioned co-creation with Mike, "The Armigerous Goose", and another by myself that has the working title "For Want of a Catchy Title", which I plan to rename later), managed not to let any migraines get beyond the "you ought to do something to head this off" stage, missed John ap Wynne's ceilidh but did get to Clan Cambion's Celtic Happy Hour (which was lots of fun -- though I was taken by surprise that they knew a different melody for "All Things Shall Perish" than I did), only made it to one class (but a very inspiring class that, as a side effect, gave me insight into something I'd been wondering about for a while), heard the Known World Choir give a kickass, rockin' concert of period Spanish music, heard the filthy alternative lyrics to "Mother's Lament" several times, played snare drum at the Pennsic Ball (and felt guilty for not getting back to play for dancing any more after that), and watched the Viking Boat Burning from across the lake again (much easier to see with a 900mm lens (actually a 300mm lens and a 3x teleconverter -- I shot a few frames and then invited the members of the camp I was standing in to use my camera as a telescope)).

I still need to find out the name of the professional-sounding Middle Eastern band at the party on the other side of the ravine into the wee hours of the very last day of War.

It was a good War. Not the best Pennsic I've had, but a very long way from being the worst. It was good to be 'home' for two weeks, even if I didn't manage to do everything I wanted to do while there.

As was pointed out by several people, "Have a nice War!" is not a combination one hears often the everyday world.

I've peeked at my friendspage but don't expect to even begin trying to catch up until Thursday.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:49pm on 2006-08-17 under , ,

Checking mail for the first time from Mystic Mail this War. Seems that some of my post-from-cell-phone-via-SMS entries have been getting posted to my journal and others have gone missing. Feh.

The tune [livejournal.com profile] justgus37 and I wrote last week is now online (though I've not verified that all the linked files uploaded correctly). I'll edit it to my default layout after I get home.

Probably not going to log in again before the end of Pennsic, though there's a wee chance of it. Will continue to attempt to post from my cell phone.

I have not made it to any classes. I did play for dancing in the barn one night (used the snare drum), and for Midnight Madness. Went 'round the merchants more to say hello to the ones I know than to shop (limited funds). Basically, trying to pace myself and still not quite managing to do so completely effectively -- getting out during the day means resting in camp for the evening; getting out at night means not going up the hill the next day.

Rain one night; weather quite nice apart from that so far (knock wood). Chilly nights. More to tell after I get home, including the tale of the little girls across the street who were so distressed by the dragon hanging in our communal shade/dining area.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 08:23pm on 2006-08-12 under ,
Apparently I am a pervert. (On account of hazelnut decaf Turkish coffee with artificial sweeteners.)
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:38pm on 2006-08-08 under , ,
Already declaring this a productive War: Mike and I composed a tune last night.
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:38am on 2006-08-06 under
One of [livejournal.com profile] cacie's songs has Mighty Kung-Fu Action death grip on my brain. Oh! Snoring stopped; maybe I can go [to sleep now.]

[Message was truncated when posted.]
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:44pm on 2006-08-04 under ,

Whoops. Misremembered an amount. Just went through bills to take care of the ones in the "consequences expensive and annoying to undo if paid late" category so that my car doesn't become not-legally-registered or all the food in my freezer rot while I'm away.

Argh. No money for lumber and hardware after all; gonna have to continue doing things the harder-than-it-has-to-be-but-at-least-it-works way, with regard to the platform for my tent. And hope that I've got some heretofore unnoticed busking chops. Fortunately I'll get a little money for driving the truck.

Could be worse. I could be not-going. <<shudder>> (Also could've been worse if I'd made the lumber and grocery shopping runs before totalling other things up...)

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)

Last year at Pennsic, I built a platform out of three full sheets of plywood and some 2x4s and 1x4s. The idea starting out was to be able to level my tent on gently sloping ground (because my poles were starting to bend from setting it up on a slope yeat after year) and get the floor of the tent out of the way of runoff from rainfall. Camp was crowded, and it turned out to be useful to be able to add legs to one end and perch my tent on a rather steeper slope and free up some gentler grade for somebody else. I'm going to do it again, but incorporating improvements suggested by neighbours last year: I've not made any progress over the past year except to flatten out the plywood again by stacking most of my dining room and a large bass amplifier on it for eleven months (it was warped when I took the platform apart at the end of War last year), so I'll be assembling it all on site again, but the plan is to do it in such a way that it comes apart into three separate sections and a small number of carriage bolts for the ride home, instead of a pile of about twenty pieces of wood and a rather large number of screws.

This brings me to where I need to borrow a clue. ASCII diagram under the cut. )


Also, I'm guessing that in this configuration I'll want the joists to run short-ways across each panel, right?

The whole thing winds up being 12'x8', which is just a few inches bigger than the floor of my tent (nominally a 9x12 but it's more like 8x11.5 -- anyhow, it fit on the platform last year, and plywood sheets are 4x8, right?).

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:47am on 2006-08-02 under

Yah, I'm behind; other folks posted this days ago. Still, we've got a couple days before landgrab so I figure there's time ...

If you're going to Pennsic, say where you'll be camping and roughly when you plan to show up, so I'll have a decent shot at finding you to say hello. (No promises -- it's all too easy to overexert myself and wind up stuck in camp the next day resting to recover, leading to a lot of my plans not happening -- but I'll try to pace myself.) Also mention who you are / how I'll recognize you if we've only met online or if you're not sure I've connected your face and at least one of your non-LJ names to your LJ userid. (There are still a fair number of folks on my friendslist about whom I keep thinking, "This is someone I know, and I've narrowed it down to probably one of these four people, but I'm not sure which they are.")

I'll try to visit all the other entries similar to this one on my friendspage and copy the info into my PDA (and post my answers there), but I'm behind on LJ and behind schedule in packing/prep, so that may or may not happen in time. Posting a comment here makes it more likely I'll see it. Thanks.

As for me, I'm camping with Caer Edgemere as usual, in E15 as usual, arriving landgrab Saturday. While we won't know our precise location within the block until landgrab is sorted, of course, our usual spot is along Brewer's Road, the last camp on the right before the tree line if you're walking downhill, which usually also means across the street from Mountain Confederation and south of House Bloodjack (they usually grab the corner of Brewer's Road and Howard's Fenway). And east of Clan Cambion. If you found us last year using Burning Hand as a landmark, they will not be our neighbours this year, alas -- but House Bloodjack and Mountain Confederation are easy enough to spot to make up for our own lack of Dramatic And Obvious visual signifiers. Barring catastrophe, I'll be in the green canvas army tent again (which will get covered with blue tarps if when we get heavy rain). My SCA name is "Arthur d'Glenn", which conveniently means that if you come asking for me by my mundane name, my SCA name, or my LJ name, folks who only know one of the three will still be able to point out my tent.

And if you're not entirely sure what this is all about, why a bunch of folks on your friendslist are making a big deal over this particular event, and why we don't just count on bumping into each other on site, perhaps my web page atempting to describe it will clear things up.

I'm looking forward to returning to my "home town that only exists two weeks out of fifty two" and catching up with various of my friends while we're all there.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:00am on 2005-08-29 under ,

Saturday, 20050820

The final Saturday of Pennsic, I was still tired from my previous burst of activity, but did eventually wander up the hill for very last minute shopping and to say goodbye to friends among the merchants. This was cut short when I realized that the pretty but ominous clouds moving across the top of the hill had changed direction and decided to rain on everything else as well. I'd picked up a couple of items on my shopping list, failed to check my email because Mystic Mail was already closed, and was on my way to get my shoes adjusted at Medieval Moccasins when it started to rain, so I strolled back to camp to check the windows of my tent. The times it rained this year it didn't really storm, though we sometimes heard thunder in the distance. Compensation from Mother Nature for some of the really miserably wet Wars we've had on occasion, I guess.

Once I was back in camp, I mostly stuck around until dark. After the rain let up, there was food, there was conversation, and there were "shouldn't we be going to the Viking Boat Burning" noises that I should have paid more attention to. Basically, I got distracted and didn't pay enough attention to how quickly dusk was falling, so by the time it finally registered and we ([livejournal.com profile] anniemal, [livejournal.com profile] syntonic_comma, and I) headed down to the lake to watch, the boat was already on the water (and on fire) and we were navigating other people's campsites in the gathering dark. This year I never made it to the far side of the lake to look at the boat while it was being built, and I didn't write names on slips of paper to put into the boat, but I watched, and while I watched I thought of my friends and kin who've died, and I listened to the noises coming from other groups of watchers. This year I didn't hear much from most directions; a little here and there, but most of the sound came from the spot on the shore where the boat was launched and someone was calling out the names.

After the Viking Memorial, I decided to head partway around the lake and see whether [livejournal.com profile] much_ado, whom I'd meant to visit more but hadn't seen since she came to my camp in the first few days of the first week, was still around. Alas, no, I was too late, but I discovered that the folks still hanging out in that camp were fun to talk to.

Back in my own camp later, as most folks were headed to bed to prepare for an early start in the morning, I didn't really want to let go of the evening even though I too was tired. Saturday night is when it feels like Pennsic ends, for me. Sunday morning is all about packing up and going home, at least for the people who haven't fled already (some people start leaving Thursday ... I remember when I used to arrive on Friday, but the timing and pace of Pennsic has shifted over the years). Sunday there are still friendly hellos, and we're still on site, but we're not "doing Pennsic", we're striking camp and trying to get out. It's Saturday night that feels like my "this is the last bit I have to savor until next year" time. So crashing early Saturday night is hard; I want to squeeze every last bit of Pennsic-ness out of the evening -- night -- before I admit that it's done.

My camp had gone to bed, but a member of Burning Hand was still tending the fire next door, so I joined him to stare at the fire and delay the inevitable. That's where last Tuesday's qote-of-the-day came from -- the two of us standing by the fire contemplating the idea that it was the final night of the War, both feeling melancholy at the thought that it was just about over.

That was when it struck me that the lover who took me to my first Pennsic had cursed me. She has cursed me with having a home town that only exists for two weeks out of the year.

But during Pennsic, it's hard to consider it a curse. It's only that final night around a campfire (gotta find a campfire to sit or stand next to in that mood), or at odd moments of longing during other parts of the year, that it feels like anything other than a gift. For those two weeks, it's a heck of a town.

Sunday, 20050820

I didn't stay up too late sulking. I was asleep by 0230. In the morning I got a later start than I'd planned to, but it didn't matter -- I stalled long enough for the canvas tent and the plastic tarps to dry while organizing everything else, worked at a reasonable pace, and still had a few hours to wait for the truck to be ready after I'd bundled everything up. I was the last to leave my block (or the two adjacent blocks) but I did see a couple of vehicles parked in campsites much farther up Brewer's Road. After I'd packed, I wrote a diary entry in which I observed, "Last night I wanted to squeeze every last minute out of Pennsic that I could. Today, Pennsic is already gone and I want to get back to Baltimore." Farther down, I wrote, "My city is gone, evaporated like a morning fog, not to be seen for fifty weeks. It is time to return to my mundane city, my city-in-the-world, for the next several months."

Still a few days to catch up on yet ...

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:06pm on 2005-08-25 under , , , ,

Health & Beingness Status (uh, 'Existential State'?):

Woke with mild headache and mild nausea. Could be fallout from the cold/cough I've been fighting (much improved since the few days it kept me in my tent at Pennsic, but still feeling annoyingly phlegmish and coughing) or early stages of an incoming migraine. So I decided to take some caffeine as a diagnostic. If it makes me feel better, the symptoms are probably migraine-related. If it makes me feel worse, probably not. If it makes me feel both better and worse at the same time ... I'll try to be creative and entertaining when I whine about it.

I consider caffeine a drug, both in the abstract "well of course it's a drug, technically" sense, and in more concrete senses -- such as noting that it will have effects on my body, only taking it intentionally, and noting it in my what-drugs-I-took-when log. This way of thinking is, no doubt, influenced by the fact that caffeine's effects on me usually include some discomfort or unpleasantness (so I cannot just take it casually the way so many other people do), and the fact that I cannot use it as a stimulant the way most of my culture does (it makes me feel sleepy but keeps me from actually getting to sleep ... yeah, as a stimulant it's still a drug, but so many people treat it as if it were a special category ... on the other hand, I don't write down my theobromine intake.) And also the fact that caffeine's effects on my body have changed greatly over the years. When I was in high school and college, it seemed to have absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. For several years after that, it would actually put me to sleep.

But just because it's a drug doesn't mean that I have to take it in the most boring way possible. I've got multiple caffeine delivery systems on hand, including Canadian OTC aspirin/caffeine/codeine tablets, drip-grind coffee, Turkish coffee, and tea (though I'm still a bit confused: does tea contain caffeine as well as theophylline, or does it contain theophylline instead of caffeine and just gets referred to as having caffeine or being 'decaffeinated' because the two stimulants are too similar for any but pedants like me to give a crap about the distinction?). On occasion I also have Coke (hey, I capitalized it; do I really have to add the 'TM' symbol in a blog reference?) in the 'fridge. This morning I chose Turkish coffee as my caffeine delivery system. (Note: I also have decaffeinated coffee in Turkish grind on hand because I like Turkish/Greek coffee as a beverage, not as the caffeine-machismo-demonstration some barbarians seem to think it is. Yeah, it's a damned strong flavour. Drink it iff you like such strong flavours, not if it's a challenge to your mouth.)

Since I also needed to eat, both to counter any effects of hunger on the headache and to hope to settle my stomach a little, I considered what I had in the house that would go well with the coffee and be gentle on my stomach. I chose toast with Raspberry Tart preserves, and the last of the halloumi (my favouritest cheese in the world) that I brought back from Pennsic, and afterwards I nibbled slivers of Ghirardelli dark chocolate. Not bad for a breakfast assembled For Medicinal Purposes, eh? Between the the strong-flavours-I-really-like aspect, the ties-to-my-heritage aspect, and the fact that gifts from both of my lovers were components of my breakfast, it was a lift for my spirits whether the caffeine helps me headache or not.

(Yes, the main point of this entire entry was to get to the previous paragraph.)

Eventually I'd like to get a left-handed ibrik or cezve (the Arabic and Turkish names for it, and no, I can never remember what it's called; I had to Google for it ... but I should ask my mother the Greek word for it [Edit: just got email from Mom -- "It is called an Mbriki, which I think is a Turkish word."]). I could probably make mine ambidextrous (ambisinister?) with a small hammer, a block of wood, and some care, but I expect I'd damage the lining and need to get it re-tinned, so I probably won't try to do that until it needs tinning already and/or I know where to get that done.

Financial News:

While I have not yet heard from Bon Secours, the hospital I was taken to after I got beaten up, today's mail brought a bill from Butler Memorial, the hospital I went to during Pennsic when I made the chirurgeons nervous. The big scary total for that was $1,460.13 but they applied a "hospital courtesy discount" (which I think means a "because we know you're poor" discount) of $584.05 for a bottom line of $876.08. And a handwritten note with Hi-Liter across it, saying to phone them to set up a payment plan or see whether I qualify for financial assistance. So I guess it's not just the medical personnel who seem so much more efficient out in western Pennsylvania than back home in central Maryland.

And the other significant thing in today's mail is that one of my credit unions is threatening to sue me over my outstanding credit card balance of $0.00 (with a warning that interest continues to accrue. I could be liable for their court costs and attorney fees if they have to take me to court to get their $0.00. "To settle this matter, you must remit $0.00 to satisfy the loan. [...] Your failure to respond may leave us with no alternative but to proceed with suit."

Gosh, I really hope my failure to respond leaves them with the alternative of noticing that the balance is zero, but just in case, what do I do, mail them a check for $0.00? And do I write "zero dollars" or "none" on the line for the spelled-out amount? (I ignored a letter like this months ago, assuming that when it got flagged for attention by a human, they'd notice the zero balance. Looks like either I was wrong, or it takes a long time before it winds up in a human's hands. Guess I'll spend the money for a stamp.)

Hmm. I should call Bon Secours and ask what's up with my bill.

Just To Have A Third Heading:

Obviously I didn't get much writing done last night after all. I'll try to resume catching up on recent events later this afternoon or evening.

But in the course of writing this, I've had time for the caffeine to take effect, and the verdict is ... it helped a little. So I should consider stronger anti-migraine measures.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:46pm on 2005-08-23 under ,

Made it to part of 3LF. Made it home. Felt well enough to be playing (except for coughing into the bass recorder) but only marginal for driving. Was annoyed that the grocery store convenient to my route with the BIG SIGN that says "Open 24 hours" (except Sunday) was closed. Wasn't sure why the security guard who told me they were closed seemed surprised that I was surprised. After all, there's that big ol' sign up there saying they're open, and people inside.

Something I forgot to mention in my entry about the trip home from Pennsic: After driving a large, overloaded truck, not driving anything for two weeks, then driving an even bigger truck (still overloaded), getting into my own car felt interesting. It felt nimble, powerful. It felt like it was a living thing. A living thing that wanted to dance. But I didn't dance with it, I just drove it home. I was too tired to do stupid stuff and think I'd get away with it. Still, it was a cool feeling even if I didn't give in to it. (Perhaps even more so for not actually testing it -- if 'twas an illusion, I left the illusion intact and let my imagination flesh it out.)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 06:43pm on 2005-08-23 under ,

I poked at my Clié earlier, to see whether I could do anything with the cracked glass that made its touch-screen stop working during Pennsic. After removing the case, I found that I could make the digitizer function briefly by wedging a thumbnail under the corner of it. I was able to perform a HotSync, and to beam a little more information over to the Visor (which I'd been meaning to give away, but I'm now glad I hadn't gotten around to doing so yet), but I was not able to accomplish the same thing with a shim, and the longer I worked the more difficult/less effective the thumbnail trick was. So I haven't copied over most of my calendar items or to-do list yet, nor any of my addressbook. My normal shopping list (in HandyShopper) didn't get copied over either. I'll try again later, and then look at how well the Sony software and Handspring software cooperate on my Windows box -- if I can convince either of those that the Visor is the Clié and just update it as though it had merely forgotten some stuff, great -- likewise if the two desktop apps play nicely side-by-side and I can just copy/paste between them -- but I don't want it to decide that I meant to delete the desktop copies of things or make any other sort of mess. I'd recently installed the backup software that [livejournal.com profile] justgus37 told me to, so if I had another PDA that used Memory Sticks I could just restore onto the spare device; alas the Visor doesn't use those.

I'm hoping I can score a dead Clié cheaply off eBay that has a working digitizer, and do a transplant, but since broken displays/digitizers seem to be the most common cause of PDA failure ... well, wish me luck.

In the meantime, I still need to install a compatible version of the MobiPocket ebook reader on the Visor -- at Pennsic I tried beaming over the copy from the Clié but that version requires the 320x320 screen and the Visor only has a 160x160 display.

Sometime before next Pennsic I want to write -- and distribute -- a PalmOS app that imports the Pennsic University class schedule and lets the user select items to copy into the DateBook app as appointments/reminders. (Just being able to read the list requires an HTML reader or ... either Word doc reader or PDF reader, I forget which ... but I want more than just a copy of the schedule to scroll through. I want a more convenient small-screen interface, and to be able to limit the view to the list of classes I'm thinking about attending. Getting the description by tapping on a class title would also be useful.) Y'all may need to remind me of this every few months.

The last few days of Pennsic I was carrying around a "medieval PDA" -- a wax-tablet book that hung from my belt. I'd wanted one for a couple years. My idea was that each night I'd copy the day's notes from the wax tablets to my electronic PDA in my tent before I went to bed, and copy the next day's schedule onto the wax tablets. (I got a three-leaf book, which has four writing surfaces.) In practice ... well I've still got checks and debit-card purchases from Friday to copy over to the Visor. But I've not had to erase anything for lack of space yet. Unfortunately the wax is even harder to read in dim light (dusk or candlelight) than the Visor's screen, and considerably harder to read by flashlight. But I still like my belt book.

The merchant from whom I bought the book told of another customer, who had bought one a year or two ago. He came into her shop and asked whether he could buy just a center leaf. She wasn't thrilled at the idea of taking another book apart to give him just a center leaf, but when he pleaded, "I need more memory," she decided his phrasing was too cute to deny.

I can just see myself asking to buy "more memory" in a couple years, but let me see how well I can live with just three leaves for a while first. I write small. And as I said, a few days worth of records haven't filled it up (two surfaces haven't even been touched yet) and I don't plan on keeping large amounts of long term data in it.

Hmm. I wonder how well/easily my notes scratched in wax can be scanned or photocopied ...

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 06:01pm on 2005-08-23 under

Sunday night I came home from Pennsic in a four hundred inch diesel deathtrap. Okay, I exaggerate slightly; the sticker on the visor said 32'3", but what's thirteen inches between friends? (I have a penis, so I'm legally required to exaggerate lengths anyhow.) The truck was loud, too loud for conversation, and it was old. The brake pressure warning light was stuck on -- allegedly the brakes were fine and a sensor was bad -- and the seat belts lacked shoulder straps. The knob for the headlights fell off when we tried to turn them on, and there were no high-beams (so I used the dimmer switch on the floor to flick the headlights off and on to signal other trucks they were clear to change lanes). The air conditioner blew everywhere except at the driver, and the instrument lights didn't work well (we had to turn on the dome light to check the fuel guage, and the spedometer was hard to read even when it wasn't bouncing wildly across a ten MPH range). At least the transmission was mostly just annoying rather than broken, though I did see it pop out of gear a couple of times while [livejournal.com profile] keith_m043 was driving. He compared it to a Chevette in that the first four gears were extremely "short", first being just enough to get the truck moving at all, followed by a race up to fifth, the only gear really useful for driving (though fourth came in handy occasionally on downslopes ... briefly). The clutch pedal was high enough that I kept bumping my shin on it.

I only drove a short stretch in the middle of the trip -- I'd felt pretty good when we started out, but by the time I took over a few hours in such a noisy cab had taken their toll on my energy level. When I started having trouble staying in my lane, I pulled over and we traded places again.

We were pretty late leaving Pennsic. I'd taken my time getting all my stuff packed (and took advantage of the time and sunshine to thoroughly dry my tent and tarps before folding them), fully expecting the truck not to be loaded until late, and I still had a few hours of sitting around and trying to nap after I finished. I wrote some of my thoughts about being on site that late as a diary entry, and will copy portions of that to an LJ entry later.

At the place where we stopped for dinner, on the PA Turnpike, a stranger stopped me to ask whether we were on our way to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and another who turned out to be an American Civil War re-enactor asked what period I was re-enacting. At a later stop in MD, to stretch my legs and use the toilet, other SCAdians spotted us and started a conversationa -- after first walking right past without even noticing my garb because after two weeks at Pennsic such things simply failed to register. (They were wearing mundane clothing). I think it wasn't until one of them recognized Keith's voice that they noticed who we were.

I finally did nod off in the passenger seat, about half an hour before I was needed to navigate into Baltimore. After getting my stuff off the truck, Keith decided he had enough energy to drive me up to Charles Village where I'd left my car (the first place I knew without weekly street-cleaning or daily rush hour parking restrictions that seemed reasonably safe) before heading on to his house. I'd been prepared to take a bus up there yesterday if he was too tired, but am grateful that I didn't have to. The car appeared unmolested and started right up. To my surprise, the leaky tire still had enough air in it to get to a gas station safely, so half an hour later I was checking mail, posting my "I got home safely" message, and falling into bed.

I guess the plywood, unlike the canvas, wasn't completely dry when I hauled it into the house. What had been a small obstacle in the front hall has turned into a near-total obstruction as the wood has adopted a more pronounced curve the more it dries out -- it now reaches the plastic bins stacked against the opposite wall. I'm not sure whether this is significant with respect to my ability to re-use the same wood for my floor next year; I need to borrow still more Carpentry Clue. But in any case, it represents a storage problem now.

Coming a little later: a little earlier.



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