Category Archives: SCA

Rob’s Update: Leaving Port

Week of 11-17 June

Greetings all

I apologize this is a little late this week. I shoot for Wednesday every week, but clearly that doesn’t always happen. This week it’s because my life is discombobulated. It is likely to get less combobulated before getting more. Much of that is because of lots of traveling. I leave for Salina in a few hours to take part in their Comicon. I don’t expect it to be huge, but I have lots of friends there. In two weeks, I’ll be at LibertyCon, which promises to be hugely busy and a lot of fun. Then Calontir Coronation. Then Pennsic. Then the fall.

Some of the discombobulation is because of an accident we had at the house a couple of weeks ago. It’s nothing huge, but it involves a lot of doing stuff. My house insurance was paid up, so I’ll actually do fine money-wise, but it’s just extra work and part of the house is awaiting repair. While that’s happening, I’m packing to move. Things will be nicer in a week or so, as I’ll have a POD container take a bunch of stuff and get it out of my hair.

So I haven’t been terribly productive this week. I worked on a couple of short stories I want to have finished by LibertyCon. That’s about it, writing-wise.

I’ve also started revamping my website. Part of this is doing some research into the most effective things I can do on a website. If you have ideas of what you like to see, and what you don’t, please send me an email at  rob@robhowell.org.

Despite all of this, I expect to have made a ton of progress on Brief Is My Flame by the end of Pennsic, which is about 2 months away. I have a lot of driving to do, which is convenient idea-generation time. The voice recorder on my phone is excellent, especially in my car where it’s Bluetooth connected.

Have a great week everyone.

Quote of the Week

I was looking up stuff about Admiral Grace Hopper recently. She was a hero to me because both my parents were involved in computers essentially all my life, and I thought it cool that this US Navy admiral was involved in computers too. What a fascinating, smart, tough, impressive woman she was.

Anyway, she didn’t actually coin this, but it was something she quoted often. In this time of discombobulation, it bears repeating.

“A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”

– John Augustus Shedd

News and Works in Progress

  • Several short stories
  • Brief Is My Flame

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing this week. My apologies.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

As we roll towards my fourth LibertyCon, I’m going to spotlight people I’ve met there. LibertyCon advertises that it is as much of a family as it is a con, and I have absolutely found that to be true. These last few years, many people there have taken the time to help me along the process, for which I am eternally grateful.

I’ll start with Jason Cordova, who helped me with blurbs, introduced me to people, shared beverages, and helped my find my audiobook reader (yes, those are coming, recording starting in August or September). I really enjoyed his book Wraithkin and am waiting for the sequel. He also writes excellent Kaiju-fiction. You can find him at: https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Cordova/e/B004CZHHPU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1497634523&sr=8-1
Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works
If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Weekend Notes

The basis of my plans most weekends involve either doing something with my writing, like a con or event, or spending time with my sweetie. This weekend I got to do both.

We had planned to go to an SCA event on Saturday, but the weather literally put a damper on that. Plus, I couldn’t sleep for some reason on Friday night. So we ended up going to Ikea and getting barbeque.

I don’t buy much from Ikea for two reasons. One, their modern style simply isn’t to my taste. Give me Victorian, Edwardian, or medieval and I’m happy. Two, as a non-svelte man I find much of Ikea’s stuff terrifyingly light. My big butt needs a big chair.

However, I do like going to the store because they often have interesting ideas and cunning ways to arrange things. They’re really innovative, even if they don’t fit me. I got some ideas for my next house.

Plus, my sweetie really enjoys shopping there, even if her tastes match mine to a great degree. We’ll be moving in together at some point in 2017 and had a great time talking about how we would prefer things in our house arranged.

We went to Joe’s KC initially for barbecue. When we got there, the line was hugemongous, out the door, and around the building. I don’t blame them. Joe’s KC is my favorite KC barbecue place. However, I didn’t want to wait that long so we went to another barbecue place I had heard good things about: Q39.

The reviews were correct. Not quite as good as Joe’s, in my mind, but still very tasty. The pork belly, white bean cassoulet, onion string appetizer was fantastic.

However, they did something that I hate hate hate. Did I mention hate?

For all that is holy, barbecue restaurants should never serve their meat with sauce already on it! Anybody can make a sauce, but it takes real skill to make great meat.

Yes, I know I could order it dry. Yes, I normally do so. However, Saturday, I was tired and forgot. And I want my meat without sauce!

What? Oh, yes, that’s a pet peeve, why do you ask?

Anyway, I’d still recommend going there. It’s not quite as good as Joe’s KC, but still very good. Just remember to order it dry.

Yesterday, I drove around 550 miles to St. Louis and back to record two episodes of the Write Pack radio podcast. One episode focused on Plutarch and writing non-fiction. Obviously, as a historian I was able to use my academic experience here. My big point of emphasis was to constantly critically examine your sources and to get as many different sources as possible.

I suspect most of you reading my blog already know this, but it is important enough to mention again. Every source is biased. You need a bunch of sources from different points of view so you can reduce the overall effect of those biases. The most biased source you will ever deal with is yourself, so always try and account for it. You’ll fail to do so completely, but it is a windmill that one must always tilt at.

I believe this episode will air on Sunday, 4 June.

The other episode we recorded involved how to use editors and criticism. Among the things I talked about is creating a team of people around you, like a race car driver does, and trusting them to do their job.

I also talked about how Kellie has improved my writing by telling me some of the mistakes I’ve made time and again, so I can eliminate them in the future.

This episode should air on Sunday, 11 June.

You can find Write Pack Radio and all their podcasts in a number of places, depending upon how you like to listen:

All in all, a fun, productive, and tiring weekend. The way they oughta be.

Kingdom A&S Thoughts

Greetings all

Kingdom A&S was, as usual, lots of fun for me. I saw some interesting research, cool work, and was able to encourage some people. That always makes me feel good.

My two favorites were one I judged, a map of the SCA version of the Kansas City area by Hugo von Harlo, and one I didn’t, a fascinating collection and comparison of a variety of fectbuchs by Gawin Keppler. Neither was terribly ground-breaking, but they will increase the fun of our hobby while also providing stepping stones to further research.

The best of what we do in the SCA is academic-level work. Better, in some instances, because often academic work is purely theoretical and until one tries some re-creation archaeology, one can’t be sure the theory works.

Sadly, many academics look down on the SCA. Some of that criticism is justified. As I said, the best of what we do is excellent, but because of the “big-tent” approach the SCA adopted, there’s a huge spectrum of quality. The bottom level is worse than basic, it’s completely wrong. Fortunately, we’ve gradually improved overall so that the bottom level is becoming increasingly rare as anything but a stepping stone to better work.

The SCA is an entry drug to learning medieval archaeology. That’s a good thing. When done well, the SCA and those who went through the SCA and on to even more detailed research have pushed the boundaries of our understanding.

There’s no doubt peer-reviewing and gatekeeping has much value. Consistency can be a good thing, and theoretically those ensure that the bottom level of academic work is of consistent quality.

However, that consistency can sometimes create artificial limits. The beauty of Frost’s paths diverging in the woods is that each goes somewhere. There’s not a right path, merely one that makes all the difference.

Kingdom A&S is a yearly reminder of that.

Rob’s Update: Rainy Day Writin’

Week of 9-15 April

Greetings all

It’s been a great week so far, though it’s rainy today. Lots of progress writing. I’m about halfway done with the final pass of the draft of Where Now the Rider, and I’m enjoying the conclusion.

I’m here in Council Bluffs, Iowa this week with my sweetie as I await one of my favorite events, Calontir’s Kingdom Arts & Sciences championship. As a researcher, I often get asked to judge some of the more interesting entries. The entries that don’t fall into normal categories. Not surprisingly, I really enjoy such entries. This year I’ll be judging Japanese rice paper painting, a hand-drawn map, a story written in a variety of styles (sort of like comparing the Seven Samurai and the Magnificent Seven), and an Elizabethan sonnet. I’m excited.

I’ve also been working on my upcoming schedule, and I should have a number of additions to make soon. I’m not sure of all the details, but I do know the rest of 2017 is going to be busy and fun.

Quote of the Week

I’ve been very productive today, which is in some ways odd as I often struggle on rainy days. Maybe I followed John Wooden’s advice.

Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
– John Wooden
News and Works in Progress
  • Still pounding away at Where Now the Rider, but the light up ahead is no longer an oncoming train.
Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions
Upcoming Events
Spotlight

The last time I was at Estrella War in the Phoenix area, I met my evil twin. No really, he’s my twin. It turns out he’s a writer too. Here’s his author page: https://www.amazon.com/Spencer-Pierson/e/B01HCIE04O/

That really is not me.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works
  • A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Book 1)
  • The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Book 2)
  • Where Now the Rider (Edward, Book 3) Forthcoming 2017
  • I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Book 1)
  • Brief Is My Flame (The Kreisens, Book 2) Forthcoming 2017
  • None Call Me Mother (The Kreisens, Book 3) Forthcoming 2018

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Mar – Silver Hammer

Greetings all

It’s become apparent that I’m too distracted by something on Sunday nights to regularly add scroll texts, so I’m just going to add them whenever I feel like it.

This particular text was given out last weekend at Calontir’s Crown Tournament. It’s a Silver Hammer for Mar, who lost in the finals to His Highness Damien MacGavin. The Silver Hammer is an award given to people who are skilled craftsmen in things like woodworking, brewing, metalwork, smithing, and such. In Mar’s case it was his crafting of musical instruments and coronets.

One of the most fun aspects of writing scroll texts for me is forcing myself to write in a poetic style that is not my normal style. My normal style, by the way, is Old English alliterative, as shown by the riddle at the end of I Am a Wondrous Thing.

Whenever I am asked to write a text for someone, my first question is, “What is their persona?” In other words, what time and place do they focus on? This tells me what poetic styles I should research in order to write a poem that suits the recipient. Mar’s persona is that of a Varangian, hence his award would come from a Byzantine emperor. So I look around at Byzantine poetic styles and in this case, I chose the 15-syllable iambic Byzantine epic style. Some choices are easier than others. Some are not. This was not.

As a side note, I am often asked why I don’t tend to write scroll texts in a more legal style. After all, these are legal documents. My answer is that legalese is legalese is legalese. The function of legal documents creates a dry structure that transcends time and place. I just think that poetry allows me the option of doing something far cooler than legalese. I can write in legalese, and I have, often enough, but it’s not my preference.

Anyway, back to Mar’s Silver Hammer text. Here it is, with some annotations. Like my annotated snippets, the annotations are indented and italicized.

Mar – Silver Hammer

Arrayed in heartland’s tagma are proud valiant cataphractoi

Tagma is a word meaning elite soldiers, like the Tagma ton Varangoi. Combined with the word cataphract, which is heavy armored cavalry, I’m referring to the chivalry of Calontir.

Ashir its Basileus strong leads spears and swords a-glitter

Its Basilissa Ashland rides beside as falcons soar high

Basileus and Basilissa are the words for Emperor and Empress.

Such that bold topoteretes like Már í Miklagarði,

Topoteretes is a leader in the tagma, again, a reference to him being a knight.

So deadly foes away full seven hundred paces fear him,

In Calontir’s constellation slight single star afar seem

But Warriors do not make realms whole, as known by rulers wise all

So clever Basileus grand and bright-eyed Basilissa

Bright-eyed here is a reference to Athena, which is totally anachronistic even for Byzantine but I thought it was fun.

Rejoice in Calontir adorned with elegance and honor,

Aflame in golden glories great and gowns in pearls bedecked fine

The rulers Chrysotriklinos well cherish all such treasure

Chrysotriklinos is the grand reception hall of the Great Palace of Constantinople. In this case, it’s a reference to Their Majesties.

Rewarding craftsmen skilled with gold and favors of the purple

In Byzantine times the purple was a reference to the Emperor. It seems to perfect not to use as a phrase for someone in Calontir getting something.

But certain jewels glittering surprise august Sebastoi

Ton Sebaston is a way to refer to the Emperor. In this case, I pluralized it to refer to both of Calontir’s Majesties. Also, the certain jewels is a reference to Mar’s metalwork.

And melodies radiant afloat from strings and woodcraft carved fair

A reference to some musical instruments Mar has made.

The artisan so skilled is known for dire hands sinister strong

Beloved of deathless northern rose and treasure of the falcon

So Calon Autokrators keen, the lords of running horses,

Autokrator is yet another term for Emperor, and lords of running horses is a reference to Their Mongol personas.

To Már í Miklagarði grant the title vestitor proud

Vestitors were officials of the Imperial wardrobe, and later this became a fairly low honorary title. They were also the wardens of the Imperial crown. Seemed like an appropriate Byzantine analogue for the Silver Hammers.

As called in Mar’s far northern home a skillful Silver Hammer.

Before all dignities whether proclaimed or once awarded

Titles in the Byzantine Empire were deemed proclaimed or awarded.

In Basileia ton Rhomaion, They decree forever

The Basileia ton Rhomaion was the Roman Empire.

Rob’s Update: The Other Half Is Physical

Week of 2-8 April

Greetings all

The memorial this weekend went very well. I figured out what to say, and you can find it on this blog post: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=582. We had enough food and drink for everyone (more than enough, I literally came home with 3 boatloads of ribs). Mom’s display of his things and pictures was excellent. And several people got up and told stories, including one that I don’t remember where I jumped out a window when I was 3.

As promised, I did very little on Monday but watch baseball. Unfortunately, the Rangers lost, but that’s baseball. A very wise philosopher once said “you win some, you lose some, and sometimes it rains.”

I’m getting the itch to revamp my personal website. I suspect that might happen right after I send off Where Now the Rider. Though I said I’m putting it away for a week, I didn’t really, and I’ve been editing here and there. In some ways, the editing process has been nice. I wrote too many words in the original draft, so cutting scenes out hasn’t really been a problem. This makes up slightly for hunting down every problem with timing and location created by shuffling chapters around. I’m changing how I write to make this less of a problem in the future, by the way.

I did do some work on Brief Is My Flame and None Call Me Mother. Basically, I wrote the opening scene of BIMF and planned what I want to happen with many of the major characters at the end of NCMM. It’s likely not all that will actually happen, but that makes it easier for a lot of the writing.

Over the weekend, I started planning for a trip to North Carolina with my mom. While this is prompted to let mom go visit my aunts, I will time it so I can go to a couple of things. It’s looking like I’ll be at Atlantia’s War of the Wings and HonorCon in late October, but both are tentative at this point as I’ve just started making arrangements.

This upcoming weekend is Calontir’s Crown Tournament. I’ll be there live-blogging the tournament on Facebook, as usual. I don’t plan on setting up a table, but I’ll have books there. We’ll see. I might get sales, I might not, it’s hard to say.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Quote of the Week

You get another baseball quote this week. Don’t worry, I’ll not run out of them. I’ve got plenty.

This quote comes from one of the world’s great aphorists: Yogi Berra.

I find this quote apt for writing. So much of writing is just doing, but that doesn’t change the thinking part.

“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

– Yogi Berra

News and Works in Progress

  • Where Now the Rider: editing and eliminating plot holes
  • Brief is My Flame: initial scene, a debriefing to Ivan Yevgenich of what happened in I Am a Wondrous Thing
  • None Call Me Mother: laid out the end game for many of the characters, now I just have to figure out how to get them all there
Upcoming Events
Spotlight

I met Susanne Lambdin in a dealer’s room where we didn’t have many people circulating but we had whimsy. Mine was by far the best paper airplane design, as she’ll readily admit.

She just released a new book starting a new fantasy series to go with her zombie series. Her website is http://www.susannelambdin.com/ and you can find her author page here: https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-L.-Lambdin/e/B00EYNT4OW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491413106&sr=8-1.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Heres-wise and Theres-wise

Week of 19-25 March

Greetings all

The title of this update is something I had fun writing in Where Now the Rider. I love playing with language, which can sometimes get me into trouble as my writing can get too poetic, but here it serves as a fun dialectical saying by a guy who works as a courier. “I’m as one who’s just wantin’ to be takin’ messages heres-wise and theres-wise and keepin’ me nose outs of things. It’s as somethin’ folk is payin’ for, see?” After the last few weeks, I’m tired of going heres-wise and theres-wise and ready to be home for a while.

Since my last update, I went to CoastCon in Biloxi, Gulf Wars in Hattiesburg, and had a bit of a writer’s retreat. I’ve listed my AARs for both events in the Recent Blog posts section. Only a couple of thousand miles this time, not four like in January, but still enough I’m glad to be home.

Most of my time has been focused on Where Now the Rider. As I mention in my Gulf AAR, I am finding that my plots are getting more complex, meaning I’m spending longer making sure the chapters are arranged properly, meaning lots of fussing with fiddly bits and fixing plot holes. I’ve made huge progress and am flowing well and I’ll have my copy to my editor by the end of next week. And this time I mean it.

One piece of exciting news is that David has invited me back to join Write Pack Radio (https://www.facebook.com/WritePackRadio/) again. In fact, we’re tentatively scheduled to have me join them for multiple episodes in 2017. I’m excited and honored that they want me back. As those tentative dates and topics get firmed up, I’ll put them here.

On my blog, I just made an entry I would love to see from some of my favorite writers do. I put up an annotated snippet from Where Now the Rider where I discuss a number of the choices I made as a writer. You can find that entry at http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=565 and I’d love some feedback if that is something you might want to see more of. Snippets, of course, but do you all want to see the annotations?

Well, that’s enough. Now back to fiddling with the fiddly bits.

Quote of the Week

Times like this when I’m pounding away I think of something Holly Lisle said. Mostly it fills me with inspiration, but there are times that the mountain I look up and see how much I need to get better fills me with desperation, but it always makes me take a harder look at what I’m writing.

Writing is a puzzle you’ll spend your lifetime unlocking. You will never know it all; you will never know enough. You can always be better, and figuring out how to be better is part of the thrill and joy of the job.

– Holly Lisle

News and Works in Progress

  • Still pounding away at Where Now the Rider

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events
Spotlight

At large SCA events, I have the opportunity to sell my books and even work on the next novel thanks to the generosity of Steve Boyd, the owner and proprietor of Calontir Trim. He sells, shockingly enough, trim for clothing by the yard. He’s got so many choices, the best way to describe them is in rhyme:

One trim
Two trim
Red trim
Blue trim
Black trim
Queue trim
Old trim
New trim
This one has a little star
This one is from afar
Say! What a lot
Of trims there are
And if you know Steve, otherwise known as Master Andrixos, you’ll know just how appropriate filking Dr. Seuss is for him. In any case, I heartily suggest you look at his offerings at www.calontirtrim.com.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Gulf Wars 2017 AAR

Shall we entitle this year’s Gulf Wars Gulfcicle? Maybe so. It was definitely the coldest Gulf I’ve been to, at least until Thursday. It was colder than several Estrellas I’ve attended, and those were routinely cold.

I never get cold, but this time I did. I could not get warm it seemed. Some of this was my spot in Drix’s booth, which was covered from sunshine but allowed the wind to come in. At night, I was fine in my bed, but during the days I even had to stop typing periodically because my hands were so cold.

I could have bought a hat, or another, heavier cloak, but I hate to buy things I would rarely use. Even if it’s that cold at Gulf next year, even if I knew it would be, I would not have spent money on something I won’t use until then. I did, however, buy my sweetie two yards of heavy wool to put over my chair.

Sales were not wonderful but not bad at all. I still don’t sell as much at Gulf Wars as I do at Kris Kinder, but sales were definitely up from last year. Of course, last year I did not have the opportunity to sell during the last day, but the pace was greater than it was on the earlier days. Overall, I netted more than enough to pay for site fee and gas to and from the Gulf Wars site. This is progress, especially since many of the sales were to people I’ve never met before.

During the week I was able to make a bunch of progress on Where Now the Rider. I had hoped to finish it while in Biloxi, but it’s trickier than I expected to get this paced right.

I’ve noticed on both Where Now the Rider and I Am a Wondrous Thing that it took me much longer than expected to deal with all the fiddly bits, especially the arrangement of chapters. I think it’s because I’m becoming a better writer and have more complex plots. A Lake Most Deep has a fairly straightforward plot. The Eyes of a Doll is less so, but still not particularly complex. Neither of those required as much time messing with the pacing. I just need to expect this time and adjust my preconceptions.

At this point I have about half of it locked into place, and about another third locked into place relative to a chapter before or behind it. I have about 3.5 chapters more to write to fill in some gaps I’ve found, and then cut some because it’ll be a bit long once those are done. Not much, though, as my editors always find some bloat. Shocking, I know.

I was pleased to have a couple of really good opportunities to sing. This year, the Calontir party was the same night as Moonlight Madness, and so I did not get to attend. I came back from selling and promptly went to bed. However, Thursday and Friday were wonderful. I expected more socializing on Saturday, but only because I did not anticipate getting packed out. However, with help, I was able to be on the road at 8ish and got to a hotel room in Jackson. It was so nice to be able to make it home yesterday, which I might not have been able to do if I’d packed down in the morning.

My only other SCA-like doings at Gulf Wars was judging in the A&S championship. I don’t actually know who won the championship, but I sure think one of the entries I judged could have. The person, I don’t know who yet, did a series of experiments making pigments for scrolls using period materials and techniques. It was fabulous re-creation archaeology. I don’t like giving perfect scores to any entrant, but it was truly amazing work and I was fascinated to read the process.

I’m hoping I can get in better shape that by next year I can add fighting back into my Gulf, without costing me too much shop time. We’ll see.

Overall, Drix’s booth has been an excellent place for me. I was able to work on the book, get a lot of traffic, and have all my needs covered. Miriam, Claudia, and Thyri are fun to work with. I do need to get a more mad tunic. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I came back to home to a busy week, added on to by the fact that my garage door broke while I was gone. I’ve a guy coming to fix it tomorrow, but I’ll just deal with my laundry in a day or so.

For now, though, it’s time to get back to Where Now the Rider.

 

Kris Kinder AAR

Kris Kinder week is always a bit of a wild ride, but this year was more so than most.

I’ve been running a bit behind on Where Now the Rider, my next book. Getting that to Kellie Hultgren condensed my cleaning time for the house, so that was tougher than normal.

This was my first year as an official vendor at Kris Kinder. Last year I shared a table, thanks to the graciousness of Antonia Deb Keller, but mentally I had not yet truly adjusted to my new lifestyle as a vendor. 2016 fixed that 🙂

And I sold reasonably well, even though I could not get my fourth book completed in time this year. So glad Gleann Abhann showed up in force.

My biggest regret is missing the ceremony for Sibilla Swaine because I was tearing down. I had a lot of fun writing that ceremony, especially the oath. I cobbled the oath together out of pieces from several oaths listed in here: https://www.myheritage.com/…/the-early-history-of-the-guild…

And yes, I specifically wrote it because I expect Sibilla to be an extraordinary rioter, dice player, and nightwalker. Demetra Hansen would expect nothing less of her brood 🙂

Then, of course, the postrevel, which I have to admit was pretty epic. Yes, we got the cops called on us. No, there’s no need to really worry about getting shut down, you can’t hear anything going on in the house while standing on the front sidewalk, much less the street.

What we do have to do is make sure we park better. I know it’s tough, and I wish there were better parking in that neighborhood, but it is what it is. Still, what the cops were left with was making us move 5 cars so they could show they were here and did something. In the future, if we don’t block the sidewalks or encroach on driveways or intersections, they won’t have any reason to come out.

I suspect I’ll find contents of December Montecino‘s pinata if I ever empty the house to move. I’m good with that.

Thanks to Jamie McKee and Bryant Waner for helping clean up so Giulia could cook breakfast for the crashers.

Whew what a day. Normally, my response the next morning is to tell anyone still at my house around 11am that I don’t care what they’re doing, I’m curling up on my comfy chair, watching football, and turning into a vegetable.

This year, however, I had the great fortune of officiating Lisette Reuss and Johan Der Hund‘s wedding on Sunday.

They wanted short and whimsical. I can *do* short and whimsical. 5 minutes, in and out, and I still fit in comparisons to Helen and Paris (whose love started a 10 year war), Romeo and Juliet (who proves that double-checking your love is *actually* dead is important), and Bonnie and Clyde (which shows you should communicate with your in-laws how to bury your bullet-ridden corpses). Oh, and I referenced Lady Astor and Winston Churchill. Be careful with your coffee, Johan 😉

*Then* I drove up to Omaha to meet Giulia’s mom for the first time. On short sleep. Then I drove back because I have an interesting week ahead of me.

Yes, I was a complete slug yesterday, why do you ask?

Time to get back to work, but before I do, I want to pass on many congratulations to Sibilla, Lisette, and Johan. Thank you for letting me be a part of your magic day.

Thanksgiving

Greetings all

It’s much easier to focus on what’s wrong and not what’s right about something. To let perfect be the enemy of the good.

Thanksgiving is a perfect example. I’ve seen people complaining for years about how it’s just a time for gluttony, an insult to Native Americans, and it leads into all the greed of Black Friday. There’s some truth to all of these and other complaints.

But there’s so much to appreciate about Thanksgiving that is forgotten when focusing on such things. It’s a time for many people to enjoy spending time with family.

Gluttony yes, but also an opportunity to make great food and share it with friends.

It’s also a great day for football. I personally really appreciate it.

I know there are those who love Black Friday in the way a hunter loves the opening day of deer season. Not my thing, but I’m happy for people who enjoy it.

More importantly, Thanksgiving prompts all of us to think about our lives. Cliche though the idea is, it’s a great thing to simply think about what we’re all thankful for. If you don’t do that now, I hope you do that at some point. It will make you happier.

So here are some things I’m thankful for.

My parents. I’m especially thankful my mother has survived breast cancer and that it looks my dad will survive his cancer for many years.

My sweetie. I’ve a great sweetie who puts up with me, despite my abilities to dig myself into a hole by being mouthy. She rocks. She even loved that went I went to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood last December that I had them pose with no one in between them so I could caption it as a picture of her with them.

My kitty. She’s a really nice cat who needs more love than I can really give her at times, but she’s still always there purring when I fall asleep.

My job. Writing is hard, but I love it. I’m not successful enough financially at this yet, but I keep plugging away.

Brewbakers. This is a bar in Lenexa that lets me sit here for hours writing and doing my job. In some ways, it feels like my office. Tonya and the rest take good care of me.

My readers. I’m very thankful for those who’ve made it clear that as long as I keep plugging away and doing my best they’ll read my stuff. The most important one in many ways is Cedar Sanderson, who has twice been there with nice things to say at exactly the time I needed nice things the most.

A myriad of *things*. By things, I mean my car, my house, my computer, my scrolls, my books, and all the rest of my stuff. I’m wealthy indeed when it comes to that and I’m thankful for all of it.

Rush. It’s really hard to express how important Rush’s music is to me. It’s been there when I’ve needed it ever since 1980. It’s inspired me many times.

My other favorite artists, authors, and performers. Too long to list, but I’ve admired a lot of great stuff over the years. In 2016, my new passion is Tengger Cavalry, which is Mongolian folk metal.

The Dallas Cowboys. I’m not saying that because they’re doing so well this year, but because they’ve given me a lifetime of great moments, even if some of those moments were some of the saddest in my life. Really, I could just say football. Or frankly, sports.

The SCA. The SCA continually gives me great opportunities to grow. Whether it’s as a person, or a public speaker, a poet, or all the other things, I am much stronger. Also, some of the best friends I’ve ever met.

My friends. Very lucky here, especially as I’m a guy who’s never really been anything but socially awkward. I do better now, but it’s never been easy. Thanks for staying when I’ve screwed up.

There’s so much more, but that’s a fine list. I don’t know about you but seeing it laid out like that makes me much happier.

I often quote Wallace Stevens, “death is the mother of beauty.” The universe gives us bad things that we dwell upon, but that makes all of the good things so much brighter.

Oh, one last thing.

Thanks to all of you for reading this.