Monday, November 29, 2004

The Sweater Project

No, I am not knitting a sweater. I have only spun enough yarn to darn a few socks at this point. Felted hats are in my future, but for Kevin, who worked at Marshall's long ago, the project in question started with an adventure in closet cleaning. The result is as good as an episode of Mystery Science Theater, I think. Enjoy...

Good Movie, Bad Movie

Slightly belated, but relevant nonetheless, these are my thoughts on two recent theatrical releases. Well, one recently released on DVD, but this happens so quickly nowadays (especially when the film is less than super-successful at the box office)...but I digress.

My definition of a generally "good" movie is one that, whatever my initial impression of it, I find myself thinking about days, months, even years afterward. By "thinking" I mean in a good way, as in "Wow, that 'gotta' dance' number in Singing in the Rain!" or "Baron von Munchausen's hot-air balloon sailing through the constellations!". Sometimes a really bad movie or unnerving scene in an otherwise good movie gets stuck in one's head, like an evil commercial jingle, but that's another topic. Some become cultural icons, like Lawrence of Arabia or An Affair to Remember; some are kind of culty, like City of Lost Children; some are hero tales that strike a chord, like Alien or Star Wars (IV, if you insist). I just found another one for myself: The Incredibles, Pixar's latest release. About 24 hours after seeing it I finally admitted that I would own the DVD eventually. . . (continue reading... )

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Weekend Update II

We had a nice "tea" on Saturday with some Medieval buddies. This time I took pictures (of a sort). The pretty lady in the Italian dress is the one who's wedding I played for a few weeks ago. She and her hubby (in red, top R) just returned from their honeymoon in the UK. Stinkers. Luckily, they spent some time at museums perusing collections, taking notes and snapping pics (which they will be sharing soon; hint, hint), so the trip wasn't all frivolity. Stinky newleyweds. ;-p
I took the liberty of photoshopping this pic to give Carl a more gnarly artificial leg. The Bionic Man one works great, but lacks style. I felt scrimshaw and turned wood suited better. His wife, in green, won the "most yardage in a gown" award for the day, proving that you don't need to go to the 18th or 19th centuries to load on the fabric. Medieval clothes are just more comfy, too, IMO. Gordo traced a cassock pattern (we were at his friend Nick's house. Nick is about the same size as Gordo, overall), and I traced a hood to copy (worn by lady in pic top R). We're going to Camlann for Yule, and we need some toasty 14th century stuff dontcha know.

Update update: On Sunday Gordon went to the black powder shoot at Lake Chabot and had fun with olde gunnes. Much merriment ensued.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Airport Nazis

In honor of all who are traveling by air during this hectic holiday season, allow me to refer you to this pithy and only slightly exaggerated tale of airport security goofiness from our man in Canada, Halfacanuck. For those in the blogsphere who don't know, the whole "airport security" thing pretty much pegs out my absurd-o-meter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

At some point it dawns on American kids that this is a holiday unique to the USA. I think it's a great one, because we take the time to give thanks for the blessing in our lives. Things aren't always sunny or perfect, and I remember some years when I really had to struggle to feel thankful. Luckily, my feelings aren't what's important, and no matter how low I've ever been, I've always been able to admit to some pretty spectacular things for which to thank the Creator, such as...
- a body that functions well enough to allow me to run and dance and row boats and ride horses and see the ocean and hear music,
- a great mom & dad who adopted me when I was 8 days old and raised me as wholly their own,
- best of all a loving husband who is truly my best friend.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Weekend Update

I hosted my first hafla ever Saturday night. For those outside the Mid East dance crowd, a "hafla" is a party with food, music & dance (the aforementioned all M Eastern/Oriental/Mediterranean). It was a hoot. Lots more folks brought food than I thought would, so there was plenty to eat. Some old buddies of my husband came over, so they lit a fire in an old brazier and sat on the front porch (one of them smokes) and "cooted" most of the evening. I'll be hosting another one in February, and I'll definitely be changing the invitation/notice from "children not encouraged" to "adults ONLY". One attendee brought three kids along, including a toddler, and our house is NOT kid friendly: aside from the open fireplace, there are candles, lamps, swords, armour with pointy helmets, and many other breakable/dangerous-to-the-uninitiated type things. Once they bailed we could really concentrate on DANCE, which was what we are all about. I think it was a success overall.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Funny Net Character Web Site

Sometimes I go to a wonderful website called MajorGeeks when I have a problem with my computer. The forum there is populated with uber geeks who are always happy to help. Long ago somebody there posted a link to a funny website called "Flame Warriors" run by a talented artist. Sometimes I go there to see if there's anything new and for a quick chuckle. If I need a longer chuckle I go to Of course he has the classics like "Troller" and "Cranous Ferrous", but two of the "flame warriors" seemed particularly amusing to me today: "Ego" and "Target". This is a great place to send people who are new to newslists, BBS, or forums and are mystified by various 'net behaviours. Wacky fun, too.

Find Your Inner Bombshell

I just found this quiz over at Aurorealis' place and couldn't resist. I don't normally put this kind of thing on my blog, but I was so happy with my "score" that I couldn't resist. I just adore Audrey Hepburn...
WORSHIP! You're inner Bombshell is the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Like her you've been blessed with a "certain something" that no one could describe accurately. You are more reserved than other bombshells, and that shows in your gentle, graceful nature. You like doing things for other people and love volunteering for your favorite charity. Yours is a rare gift in this day and age. You don't need to show a lot of skin to be sexy, all you need is your eyes. To see Audrey at the top of her game watch the movie "Breakfast at Tiffanys".

Who is your inner bombshell?
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Fresh from the WayBack Machine

Renaissance faires/festivals are generally not great places to try and connect with the history of England or any other country. This is why we were genuinely pleased and surprised last Saturday when, strolling past the booths selling fairy wings, celtic knotwork doublets, S&M gear, and Conan swords we came upon this pleasant domestic vignette (above L). I have been to few reenactments that looked this good, and only rarely viewed such a nice "moment" at any Ren Faire. Yeah, the "scholar"'s robes are cotton...but he's actually playing chess with a lady who looks like a LADY and not a gutter snipe. They get the gold star for a nice impression.
At the other end, literally, of the faire, was a "camp" of "gypsies". Belly dancing has been at Ren Faires since the 70s at least, for some inexplicable reason. It's right up there with Scotsmen in kilts and Meiji period Japanese impersonators, as far as I'm concerned. However, as a belly dancer myself, I enjoy watching a good show. Hahbi 'Ru, who perform at the big N Cal Faire every year, are alone worth the price of admission, IMO. Especially since they project a very folk/native/historical atmosphere. This gang was ok, but really seemed to give more of a 60s/70s nature child Grateful Dead kind of impression. There's nothing wrong with that, but what it's doing at a Ren Faire I really can't fathom. Still, they seemed to be having a good time. I was particularly impressed with the "fire dance".

Monday, November 15, 2004

Coded Message: non FC pls disregard....

You FC guys are cracking me up! Either that or you're cracking up. I just popped in for a bit of a lurk and found I'd been nominated for monarch status. Like George Washington, though, I'd rather stay on my farm. Still, I am amused... :-D

Sunday, November 14, 2004

More Horsiness & Dance

(Is "horsiness" a word? Hm...) Went down to the Henrikan Renaissance Faire in Fresno yesterday to visit with some jousting pals. We were going to take our horses and play, but late Friday night I got a call to perform in Modesto, and it would have been a logistical nightmare to try and "do it all". Paying the bills comes first, so we compromised and then stopped in Modesto on the way home for my gig. The restaurant is run by an ex-pat Iraqi family and most of the patrons are from the same background; really cool folks who all love to sing and dance and celebrate life's little occasions. Between my sets the band played "debke"(line dance) music and they all danced around the restaurant: old, young, men & women & toddlers. Nice folks. My only problem is I'm not really a night owl, so when it went late I really had to struggle to stay sharp. Still, a good time was had by all.
Here's a shot of the Knights of the Azure Cross's quintain. Trying to get ideas together to build our own so poor Henrik can have his quintain back...

Cast your bread upon the waters...

There seems to be a great deal of speculation over at the FC slum as to why MW & BH were conspicuous by their respective absences all day Sat. When hubby and I returned home at 0100 from a day enjoying jousting and an then an evening dance gig (both some distance from home), I found where they’d been: filling my blog with their uniquely pungent bons mots! Unravelling, sorting, and translating the above should prove a challenging exercise, but I will attempt it in the name of clarity…tomorrow (yawn).

Friday, November 12, 2004


Since this is a public blog, I have tried to keep the postings about my personal life pretty low key. Today, I'm going to take a minute to wonder out loud about a situation that is acutely sad, disappointing, and monumentally frustrating to all parties involved, for various reasons. The principal player and impetus behind the tempest is somebody who was a very close, long-time friend of my husband. About 1 1/2 years ago it was discovered that this person had betrayed my husband, his ex-wife, and daughter in various and appallingly spectacular ways. This Svengali should have been banished from the pale never to be tolerated again. Instead, the young girl, under his manipulative control, forgave him his indiscretion (very kind if naive of her) and "threw herself entirely into his power" (to quote Jane Austen, who would have had a field day with this tale). (Wait...maybe this is more Grace Metalious' speed...) But I digress...

The details were pretty much kept within the family, mostly to protect the daughter. However, this gem of chivalry with whom she has chosen to share her life (currently) is a frequent, nay, constant, denizen of a certain web forum where the MO consists mainly of taunts and personal insults (now there's a high quality way to spend your days...not). Here we were, all tiptoeing around, keeping our family woes to ourselves in the interest of good manners, when all along the instigator was running his exploits up the virtual flagpole. Apparently Sven has made a habit of bragging about such things as his sexual conquests (true) and illustrious film career (heavily padded). He also seems to have a habit of posting using other people's names, something which I am in the process of verifying. To his apparent surprise, the other folks at this forum have grown weary of him, and seem to have begun a campaign designed to irritate him enough to get rid of him. Or maybe they're just a bunch of virtual picadores having a lark, which seems more likely.

After a couple of days of watching this flap unfold, I've come to the conclusion that Sven is no mere sociopath, but a virtual S&M junkie. The only reason he would possibly want to return again and again to that forum, spending many hours a day exchanging taunts and ducking virtual rocks, must be that he actually enjoys the abuse! Why else would he flaunt his indiscretion in such a cavalier manner? Did he expect to generate applause?

The person I worry about is the girl in his control, who (of course) doggedly defends his every move. She is (rightly) irate about this whole flap. Unfortunately, she needs to take a good hard look at the cause of it. Her friends and family are ready to "be there" for her when she decides she's had enough of life with Mr. Right Now, but she can figure that out for herself if she's as smart as we hope she is.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jesus Unplugged

When Ben over at They Will Know Us by Our T-Shirts discovered a database glitch at his bookstore listing Jesus as the artist on a newly released album, he was inspired to pen this "what if" interview with The Man. It's priceless: sharp, witty, and a straight-up commentary on contemporary Christian music (a.k.a. CCM) and the Church. (continue reading...)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Libs for Secession!

The alert newshounds at Castle Arrgghhh! are keeping track of the hotbed of secessionist foment here in the US of A. It seems that there are some so disgruntled by the presidential election that they've just thrown in the towel and are ready to form their own nation. Do these people ever even crack a history book? Are they as blissfully ignorant as they seem? I like Powerline's alternative solution: Liberal reservations (is that a double entendre?).

Matt over at Infinitely Tortuous adds his two cents quite eloquently, as well:
" this what it's come to? If I don't like it, I'm leaving? I'm taking my ball and going home? Have we become a nation of spoiled brats so accustomed to getting our way that oh my god the world comes to an end when we don't?
...As much as I'd love to join the sore winners' cry of "don't let the door hit you on the way out", it would essentially mean the failure of the American Experiment. These people need to shut up, take a bottle of chill pills, and just sit and think for a good long while."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Gettin' Medieval

Gordon and I set up Henrik's quintain again today (we will be sad when forced to return it, let me tell you...) and worked the horses a bit. Good old Taxi (see pic) is my default mount these days, and he's an old hand at this stuff. It was my first go at tilting, and I did OK. Actually hit the darned thing a couple of times. I also just had to strap on my sword, which was a bit distracting, but I have to get used to it I suppose. Next time we go out for a bit of a ride I'm going to try to spear some of those weird little paddy melons growing by the canal. Woody did fine for Gordon, and is pretty clearly not terrified of the quintain or anything, although he was distracted by another rider in the ring and went wide a couple of times. He's still getting used to neck reining, but he's learning really quickly. There's a Henry VIII-era Ren Faire next weekend in Fresno, and Cliff Basset of Knights of the Azure Cross has invited us (well, Gordon & squire) down to play, so we're trying to get Woody up to speed, so to speak. Should be interesting...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Dewey Wins by a Landslide!

Well, we're all under the big W again! Kerry has graciously conceded, which wins him major points in my book. Or is it suspicious? Would it have made a lick of difference if Kerry had won? I know I'm not the only person who thinks that the Dem and Rep presidential candidates are pretty much clones with different uniforms anymore. I didn't vote for either of them. Was that a wasted vote? I don't think so.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Horsing Around Again

Sunday morning Gordon, Morgan and I set up the quintain at the stables and tried Woody out on some tilting practice. Not only did he not "blow up" or run terrified from the scary monster, but he really seemed to get in to it after a few passes. Sometimes he ran a bit wide of the mark, but he never shied away. The lance (closet pole) didn't phase him at all. He'll be a great tilting/jousting/cavalry horse once he gets things figured out. Gordon is very happy, needless to say.

Vote Early, Vote Often!

It's election day. I've put off filling out my absentee ballot until the last minute this time around, so that's next on my list of things to do. For all the latest on the voting frenzy, the place to be today is the Command Post...they have a platoon of bloggers covering the action as it happens: almost as "good" as being in the front lines. (I just tried to get to the CP, and I think they may be getting swamped because I kept getting the dreaded error screen...)

2145: Finally got in at the CP, looks like we're going to have the big W for four more years. He's not perfect, but at least he's not a lefty loony ivory tower bliss ninny...oops, did I say that. Yep, I did.