Category Archives: Personal

That one is looooong gone

I once had a job that was a terrible fit. Those nine months of being a round peg in a square hole were ended when they fired me because I had been to a science-fiction convention and LucasFilm required all employees of printers putting out Episode I posters to sign that they were not involved in any science fiction fandom. It was a convenient excuse for both parties to move on, really.

However, during that time I was able to listen to a lot of baseball online. At one point, you could listen to every radio feed for free and I got a chance to listen to quite a few famous announcers I really hadn’t listened to before.

Including Ernie Harwell, who passed away yesterday.

I had a lot to say about him, actually, as a guy who loves baseball. However, Joe Posnanski wrote something better than I ever could, and I encourage you to read it here: http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/05/04/rip-ernie-harwell/

Magic Music Making My Morning Mood

I saw my 18th or 19th Rush concert on Saturday.

I have seen at least one show from every tour since the Grace Under Pressure tour in 1982.

I have loved every one of them.

But I think this was the best show I have ever seen from them.

Rush put out a new album last year and toured last summer. I saw them in Raleigh with my nephews (their first concert ever) and St. Louis with Ted, who got me into Rush in the first place near 30 years ago. This time was with Malachi, who hadn’t been to a Rush concert in 25 years or so.

However, the demographic at Rush concerts is essentially the same people each time. Not everyone likes Rush, but those who do REALLY like Rush. They use many of the same video add-ons for the same songs each time, making Rush concerts exhilarating and comforting at the same time.

But this show was different. Their set list last year and this year were pretty close. They played in front of the same people as last year, basically. And they knew this. And so they added a bunch of tweaks and extra artistic flourishes to their songs. I especially liked the point in Red Barcheta when Alex stopped playing and Geddy and Neil simply played the bass and drum portions of the bridge. I hadn’t recalled them ever doing that, and it seems to have really resonated with Rush fans on the blogs and lists.

Usually, they take a great deal of pride in playing their songs note for note, but this show they seemed more relaxed than I have ever seen them before. They’ve always been comfortable not taking themselves seriously, but while they take their music very seriously, they have gotten to the point where they’re comfortable playing around with stuff.

I loved it.

Quest for the Grail / Three Rivers Carousel

I’m combining my event reports for Quest for the Grail and Three Rivers Carousel because these two events tried to do something similar, though the execution was very different. Both of these events had people engage in a variety of engagements and both were similar to an event idea I’ve been tossing around. I’m very glad to have gone to these as I’ve learned how to improve my own event.

The Quest for the Grail was in Forgotten Sea on Memorial Day at the Lilies site. It was sort of a Lilies test-run. The fighting on Saturday was structured around a series of fights in the woods. Each team consisted of 3 or more people, with 3 fighters active at a time. We proceeded down the path of the woods, encountering opposing fighters, many with different attributes, puzzles, or demeanors. Overall, the opponents represented the seven deadly sins. Most interesting was Sir Thjo’s team who were Anger and Sir Duncan Bruce of Logan’s team which was Sloth. Can’t forget Her Excellency Yasamin, and a horde of beautiful women represented Lust. Most humorous was Sir Colin who was given an immense amount of padding making him look fat as he was gluttony.

It was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods. The teams were allowed into the woods separately and we were one of the last teams in. We were read a preliminary bit and given a shield with a white cloth. We then proceeded in the woods. The white cloth was given so that whenever we lost a fight, or in other words lost to a deadly sin. If you were pure and innocent, like Galahad, your shield remained white. If not, your shield was marked up and unclean. So after every fight we lost, the winning sin would write something on the shield. These writings were supposed to hint at the fact that they were a deadly sin.

At the end, we were quizzed by the final guardians, St. Peter and two archangels. We were asked by them what the nature of the fighting had been. We hadn’t been smart enough to look at the big picture, nor had we been smart enough to read what had been written on our shield, so when we were asked if we knew that our opponents had been the seven deadly sins, we had no clue. We weren’t the only ones, as I don’t know if anyone guessed it correctly. Nevertheless, it was a very good time, but during the trek I couldn’t help but wish that more of the fighting encounters were also puzzles where we could talk our way through them. I suppose that’s me.

The Carousel event was a series of games. We did pretty well in every event, not necessarily the best in each event, but consistently scored well. In the end, we won.We started with Bardic part, which was their take on Whose Line Is It Anyway. They tasked us with coming up with a Irish Hoedown. They said we got bonus points if we involved beer and pretzels, so I gave them each a beer. That sort of started the day off in the manner it deserved, with our team cheating, bribing, and doing whatever we could to win.

The other events was playing a large version of Cathedral, a jousting game where blindfolded people pushed a blindfolded rider on this wagon horse guided by other team members to hit a ring, a spear contest hitting a series of targets in numerical order (including pi), a sheep-herding game using shepherd’s crooks to get balloons into a pen at the end of a maze, and shooting a trebuchet at a giant troll. We did pretty well in the Calontir trivia, answering questions that Master Brummbar developed and some of the questions were very obscure, like who was the first native Calontir peer and who was the first Calontir Pelican. We didn’t do as well in the Speed Heraldry, which was kind of surprising but it was a very tough event. We did pretty well in the both the target archery and the combat archery, which since we had Baron Jon Tristram was not too surprising.

The fighting portion was a combination of several things. It was ultimately a fight between the team and three previous Baronial fighting champions. We were asked trivia questions about Three Rivers, which the more we answered limited the weapons the fighting champions could use. We answered all 3, limiting the champions to single sword. Also, you could shoot at a target to try and take limbs away from the fighters. As many team members could shoot 3 shots as you wanted, but the baronial archer champions got 2 shots per team shooters to restore the limbs. Tristram hit one leg and so did Ben, who was a teenager who joined us midway through, but the archer champion restored them. We then fought, with Dongal and I facing Eric, Raud, and Josef. I killed Eric with a thrust to the throat with my axe, but I really was suffering in the heat. I had done 3 pickups with Dongal prior to the fighting as I was overheating. It was 97 and very humid with little wind and I was suffering. At about the same time I killed Eric, a hold was called. I decided to stop fighting because I was feeling nauseous.

Despite my wussiness, I don’t think there’s enough fighting. Part of the problem is that I was in armor running around doing other events for a couple of hours before we got to the fighting. I should have fought earlier, and done the games later.

Somewhere between the Grail and Carousel is a wonderful, balanced event. I’m going to play around and see if I can come up with it.

Random Music

One of the longest running and most enjoyable bloggers out there is Aaron Gleeman (www.aarongleeman.com. Yesterday he randomized his IPod and listed the first 40 songs that were shown. I don’t have an IPod, but WinAmp can do the same thing, so, here are my 40 random songs.

Van Halen – Top Jimmy
Ekova – Starlight in Daden (Aurora Remix)
Eddie Van Halen and Brian May – Starfleet
Bob Marley – Jamming
Wolgemut – Processional
Altramar – O Columba insignis signifer
King’s X – I Can’t Help It
Judas Priest – Breaking The Law
Dream Theater – War Inside My Head
Peter Tosh – Mega Dog
CSN & Y – Teach Your Children Well
The Cult – Big Neon Glitter
Michael Longcor (Duke Moonwulf) – The Irish Guard
Stevie Nicks – Landslide
Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
Yngwie Malmsteen – The Sails of Charon
Blind Melon – No Rain
Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Kingston Air Force – There’s a Riot Gwaan
B-52s – Love Shack
Smashing Pumpkins – Bury Me
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem – Whack Fol The Diddle Oh
Korn – Blind
The Calais Consort – Cuckolds All A Row
Wolgemut – Schottish
Led Zeppelin – Rain Song
Conn MacNeill – Echoes
Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
King’s X – Skeptical Winds
Enya – Caribbean Blue
Ozzy Osbourne (with Randy Rhoads) – Paranoid
Blues Brothers – Rubber Biscuit
Rush – Something For Nothing
Flogging Molly – To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
The Ealdormere Bardic College – Lifeblood
David Munrow; Early Music Consort Of London – Je ne puis – Amors me tienent – Veritatem
Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide
Dropkick Murphys – Time To Go
The Who – Squeeze Box

Leave me comments and I’m curious what you all came up with.