gurdymonkey: (mysca)
I was coming back from my town run on my first full day at Estrella and I ran into a guy coming out of gate check in. He was wearing a tee shirt that said, "Because I'm the Laurel, that's why." I felt the need to approach and cheerfully inform him that I disagreed with his shirt. (Seriously? Our Society dubs people "experts" and we can't expect a civil and informative answer to a legitimate question?) Our paths were in the same direction and we had quite an amicable discussion in which Master Whoever He Is came to the conclusion that I'm Doing It All Wrong And Will Never Get A Laurel That Way.

So what else is new? I haven't specialized in one thing and Achieved Mastery (TM) of it. (Well, no, I'm a little busy writing poems and hand sewing clothes and doing woodworking with kitchen tools and looking up where the Jesuits established missions in the Far East and oh, I need better lanterns for my pavilion than those crap paper things from Cost Plus and hey, is THAT how the Japanese got muskets and Micah wants to teach folk dances at Coronet so let me see if I can get a copy of Ikema and it's Tuesday so I've got taiko and it's ALL fascinating, you poor, myopic Master Guy.) I'm not Getting My Work Out There by entering every competition from here to Pennsic. (Well, no. I Get My Work Out There on the web, which means I'm actually networking with people who are interested in the same things I am, most of them Not Laurels.) Why Haven't I Apprenticed To A Laurel? (Conversely why hasn't anyone asked me to be theirs?) Because it would not be a good fit, probably. Because I like my independence. Because I'd rather pick more brains than just one.

I can't and won't second guess the thoughts of a body comprised of multiple minds, even though I know I've probably been on and off that microscope slide for years now. Not everyone gets to be a peer. Not everyone needs to be a peer and I'm done worrying about it. Life is short and I have too much to learn.

So now there's this Wreath of Athena thing they're doing at March Crown, which due to imperfect use of the term "invitation"  was misunderstood on the kingdom e-list and there was some wrangling about what it was and who could be in it. It's basically a populace judged A&S contest, no documentation required, open to all artisans who wish to participate. People put their stuff on the table, other people look at said stuff and vote for what they like with beads. The person who gets the most beads gets a wreath to wear for the remainder of the event. You know, the kind of contest where ooh shiny is likely to beat out something not shiny but exquisitely executed.  It's an attempt to try something new and different and that's fine. It's just not my thing.

So, shit stirrer that I am, I just wrote the following to the list: In the name of Omoikane no kami, this artisan invites all and sundry to view her
old, new (and possible in-progress works depending on what the next couple weeks hold) at March Crown and any other event, where said work will be on display in the proper context as articles of use, namely upon her body and in her encampment. Tea, conversation, pretty things. What more could one wish?

I was planning on knocking out a new banner this weekend and doing a new piece of garb for myself in time for Crown anyway.

gurdymonkey: (thought)

A number of people are applauding a recent video by actor George Takei in which he takes to task Arkansas school board member Clint McCance for hateful anti-gay statements.

I, however, can't help but feel disappointed. I had believed Mr. Takei had more class than this. Just because you say it in Mellifluous Actor Baritone (TM), does not make it Shakespeare or you the gay Martin Luther King. 

Profanities have their place. They are a valid part of our language, and can be extremely expressive in the right situation. I don't happen to think this was the right one.

McCance has called shotgun on the Express Handbasket. The good news is that he's resigned from his position on that school board.

And now, for some classy putdowns:
gurdymonkey: (Default)
I am not a cool kid. I don't have a cell phone that does anything but be a phone. I don't Twitter. I only get on Facebook at night, usually wondering what the hell I'm doing on Facebook.I don't need or want or care to be plugged into the zeitgeist 24/7 'cause I might miss  something.

I get dressed at about 6:05 AM Pacific Daylight Time. I usually have time before work to check email and messages, watch the morning news and then I go to work.

So it's not until the day is mostly over that I start noticing some pretty damn obscure references to wearing purple, many coming across (intentionally or not) in what reads as a cooler than thou, "I'm wearing purple today, why aren't you?" kind of note. Oh, God, now what? Did I miss mention on the news that it was National Appreciate Your Eggplant Brethren Day when I was flossing? Did Barney die? What is Wrong On The Internet NOW?

There hadn''t been a peep on the calmly read news snippets that punctuate the classical station I play softly at my desk. My co-workers are not wearing purple. It doesn't hit the local newspaper I read online, in fact, until 11:19 AM (you know, a time of day that people who don't work from home or pull the swing shift have already gotten dressed) in a blog posting to a column titled "The Mommy Files," which I don't read as I am not anyone's Mommy.  I had Google "wearing purple."

Is it OK that I marched with my parents for civil rights because I was old enough to walk however far it was on a cold day in Minneapolis in 1966? Do I get any points for that? Of course, my father, a German Jew whose parents had the good sense to emigrate from Frankfurt in 1936, married my mother, an Irish-American Catholic in 1957 against the objections of his entire family except his mother. (Mom's family liked him just fine, thank you.)

I was a Supreme in Cindy Sykes' back yard in 1968, lip synching to Motown 45s with friends. They didn't care that I was white, I didn't care that they were brown, we were too busy working on our choreography. Teaneck was progressive then.

I spent pretty much all my spare time and cash from the age of twelve right up to about 1995 under the tutelage of a horse trainer who never married but had several male "roommates" in the time I knew him. (Yes, my parents knew - and approved. I was occupied, learning responsibility and making some pocket money mucking stalls and teaching lessons.)  By the time I moved into Demarest Hall at Rutgers my senior year I didn't think much one way or the other about the fact that Rob and Fran were boyfriend and boyfriend.

Try working for a health insurance company in the mid 1980s and trying to figure out what is going on with this sudden influx of claims for a disease that doesn't even have a name yet, and then finding out with the rest of the world. And wondering if any of your old dorm mates who you never quite managed to keep up with are dying.

Anybody remember POW/MIA bracelets? 
What color ribbons were we all looping around things in 1979 and why?

So please forgive me if I was so uncool and insensitive as to have put on a blazingly fuschia pullover this morning. I'm doing the best I can, OK?
gurdymonkey: (Default)
1. A friend of mine is a secret shopper at Lush Cosmetics. (I could tell you who, but the cruelty-free organic skin care ninjas would come after us all and smother us with cocoa butter and lob bath bombs at us. Which may not be a bad thing, going to the afterlife smelling all yummy....) It turns out the local shop was having an in store promotional "party" last night, so we met up and checked it out. Now, you have to understand, high-maintenance-Japanese-persona notwithstanding, I'm not a big cosmetics/perfume person. My health and beauty shopping tends to go on at Walgreens most of the time, and if I put on anything more than moisturizer, lip balm and a little mascara, that's a lot.. Yet I came home with a rosemary and peppermint solid shampoo (and a tin to keep it in), a solid perfume and shower gel in the same scent and a moisturizer for the areas around my aging eyes which I sprang for on my friend's recommendation. (I tried one of the new anti-aging eye creams with Retinol once. On a warm day, mild to moderate perspiration caused it to run into the corners of my eyes, stinging and resulting in blurred vision for a couple of hours despite an emergency face wash.)  In fact, I purchased enough to get a goodie bag with several bath and shower products, and a free sample of a hand lotion I tried.

Why this sudden burst of girly consumerism? Well, before we went to Lush, My Friend had to pick up something in Sephora, a few doors down. The reek of rioting perfumes nearly made me throw up on the sales clerk who was assisting my friend. It was pretty bad. Then we went into the Lush shop where things were not inducing migraines while duking it out for artificial scent supremacy. Their products did have scents, some of which I really, REALLY liked, but they weren't in your face unless they were literally in your face. The hand lotion? Three hours and at least one hand washing after the sales clerk put it on me and my hands still felt really nice. The shampoo? Well, let's see how non-oily my hair stays through tomorrow as I try not to shampoo every single day. But the scent was a nice wake-up call for a 6 AM shower.  So yes, I splurged a bit. Besides, with a wisdom tooth extraction scheduled for Tuesday, I sort of need it.

2. The bored members of the kingdom e-list got on the subject of surviving a cataclysm and I really, REALLY want to post, "If the apocalypse comes, I'll be the one rotting for all eternity inches from the door to my apartment, having fallen down the stairs while trying to flee the earthquake/zombies/superflu/nuclearfallout/apocalyptic disaster of your choice." See, I do know how to make a fire without matches, and how to shoot a bow and arrows and build a shelter using only a tarp and some string, but I'm also a realist.
gurdymonkey: (mysca)
Rumor - and it IS rumor until it gets announced somewhere more official than someone's LJ - has it that next year the West will only have one kingdom Collegium, in the fall.

For those who are already embroiled in the wailing and gnashing of teeth, all I can say is "welcome to my world." The world where you're damned lucky if one person shows up to the class you've offered to teach and no fair whining that you drove X number of hours and spent Y on the trip or class materials or whatever, because your passion just happens to be the narrow niche.

The world where you teach where you can, when you can, official kingdom schedule be damned.

The world where I used to eat the cost of handouts in the vain hope (and it WAS vain) that people would actually use said handouts to sing medieval songs at events without me.

The world where I announced that I would be available at the convenience of ANY student at the A&S Tourney to help them put together kosode for the Fettburg Midsummer Feast? I got one taker, she got garb she could wear.  Compare that to the teeming droves who showed up for the 14th c. cooking project at Mists Coronet. Feel better?

The world where 98% of the teaching I do is over the internet.

The world with students who aren't even IN the SCA. The cosplayers. The reenactors in Moscow. The fellow in Milan.

If you really, REALLY want to teach, you will. 

gurdymonkey: (pissed)
From the SCA Governing Documents.
B. Requirements for Participants at Society events
Anyone may attend Society events provided he or she wears an attempt at pre-17th century clothing,
conforms to the provisions in Corpora, and complies with any other requirements (such as site fees or
waivers) which may be imposed. At business meetings and informal classes, the requirement to wear pre-17th century dress may be waived. All participants are expected to behave as ladies or gentlemen. (Emphasis mine)

So enough with the gossip-mongering and speculation already, people!

EDIT: for those not in this kingdom (or even in the SCA), evidently it was announced last week that a member of this kingdom has been exiled. Procedures are in place for this sort of thing and what that member allegedly did or did not do is privileged information, for the protection of ALL parties involved. 

gurdymonkey: (Default)
I like my eye doctor. I do not like her office staff. And here's why! )

Promises, promises. )Madam I Want To Throw A Japanese Party For The Anime Watching, Pocky Eating, Hello Kitty Hugging Youth Of The Known World informs me that we met at the Artisan's Display at Estrella if I'm the Lady Who Makes Drums Out Of Strapping Tape anMy d Had All The Cool Japanese Stuff. (I met a lot of people there. I've slept since then. I do not remember her.) Bases have been touched, my Rising Sun Land Shogun has been warned. Help has been offered.

gurdymonkey: (Default)
1. Why yes, Kanye West IS a jackass.

2. While I offer my congratulations to Eddie Izzard on his achievement in the name of sport and charity, I refuse to let anyone attempt to lay a guilt trip on me about what I do and don't do in the name of my health. I don't run, marathons or otherwise, not after more than 20 years' abuse of my knees in the service of horsemanship and two bad injuries of the same knee over a relatively short period of time, which I take as a Sign That I Really Was Not Intended To Fence. 

I do breeze through two fourteen minute miles five days a week on those knees, and do 100 crunches a night. I play damn hard at taiko once a week, but since it is only once a week, I'll even let you say, "Well, that doesn't count."  I eat a reasonably healthy diet most of the time, and yet, thanks to the genetic crap shoot, all that discipline still means being potbellied and pear shaped and not being able to get the needle on the scale to budge no matter how carefully I eat. I AM in good shape, even if it doesn't look like it : I can tell by how fast my pulse rate drops after exertion, so if y'all wanna be inspired and run marathons, go right ahead. I, for one, have nothing to prove.

3. Shannon-sensei was not at class tonight, so Sean-sensei ran us through the piece with no name as yet, and "Friday Night Gig" in a high intensity hour that was equal parts exhilaration and ass-kicking. The un-named piece has a wonderful swingy rhythm that I'm really enjoying. "Friday Night Gig" is on slant-stands and I'm having  problems with a move in which we twirl the stick in the right hand twice while drumming with the left. I don't have it anywhere near down yet and I managed to smack myself across the forearm, probably because I was thinking too hard about the stick flourish that was coming up and not about the phrase I was drumming at that moment. However, I feel pretty good about the fact that I can play softly when soft is called for. Note to self, design a tee shirt for Cafepress. "There's no crying in taiko: screaming, but no crying," Sure, in my copious spare time....

gurdymonkey: (thought)
The SCA is not "family."

That is all.

gurdymonkey: (brain cramp)
As long as my kingdom insists on holding its Collegia in hotels, I fear I must  insist on not attending.

Yes, I realize the medieval-ambience argument has holes in it: I've done my fair share of eventing in schools, church halls, and even a Twelfth Night in a freezing armory with filthy floors somewhere in upstate New York.

And I realize that spring Collegium was at a hotel because of financial fallout from prior use of said hotel by the Kingdom and it was a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. However, this afternoon's announcement mentions a hotel that I am not aware of the Kingdom having used in the years I've been in the West. Therefore, I can only conclude that someone or multiple someones like Collegium-Con events.

I don't. That's not what I come to the SCA for. I particularly dislike the assumption that we can/should spend money on hotel rooms so we can socialize with people we see on a semi-regular basis anyway. After all, this is the kingdom that hates the NMS on the basis of the starving-student argument, so much so that it often gets paid from donations by the populace.

I will be teaching at Collegium Caidis (by invitation). I will be teaching at Great Western War. And I have just been invited to teach in Silver Desert on the weekend of September 12. I do believe the weekend of October 24 might be the perfect time for the Curmudgeon to take a well earned break.
gurdymonkey: (thought)

Actual quote from actual person I thought was smarter than this.
"Yes, like so many descriptors, it [the term "fringie]" can be used as a pejorative."

Then don't use it. At all. People clearly FIND it pejorative. Just sayin'.

Oh, and the only reason I'm scrolling through this nonsense is to get info on the demo at the Santa Clara County Fair on Saturday. Anybody caught using the term "mundane" in my presence will be bludgeoned with something hard, sharp and medieval.


Jul. 15th, 2009 06:59 pm
gurdymonkey: (thought)
"I'm an armiger and I'm ok!" (Very loudly and with feeling!) "I don't have to sit in meetings all day...."

Or care where they're held.

Or when they're held.
(Scroll, scroll, scroll.)

Or who's exercising what royal prerogative.
(Scroll, scroll, scroll. Are you done yet? Scroll.)

Or how many people are likely to show up. Those who show up will show up and deal, presumably. I don't know how, but meetings go on with or without people all the time. It is the way of things. (Scroll.)

Or what the difference between a Crown and Kingdom event has to be.
(Needlessly stupid tangent! SCROLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Or what they're talking about in those meetings anyway.  (Ooh, look, Supreme Court confirmation hearing video!)

Seriously, it's a good thing I read my list mail on the web. Otherwise the best message of the day would've gotten lost under all that fooforaw. There's nothing like getting a photo of a complete stranger looking stylish and correct in his very first SCA clothing appended to a thank-you note for one's work. It is a happy-making thing.

Taiko went better than expected last night. I glared at the Big White Eye, brandished my bachi and stepped up in the first pairing to work on solos and snarled (to Shannon-sensei's glee) "You.Will.Not.Intimidate.Me." All The Way To Eleven Clint did his. Then I faked my way shamelessly through mine. I don't know WHY my brain goes "Oh crap, what was I gonna play?" despite all my preparation, but - Oh, wait, yes I do. Damned stage fright.....

The new piece (as yet unnamed) has a swingy, syncopated beat and I found it easier not to count or recite the kuchishowa and just absorb the line we worked on musically. Made me feel a LOT better about my struggles with the o-daiko work on "Jisshin," because I was in cruise mode while everyone else was still trying to figure it out. Then again, it was only one line.

Dear Myspace Guys One Through Four:

Is it bizarre coincidence that four of you messaged me in the past day and a half on a site I haven't logged into in a year and a half because it is lame and dumb?  Did you happen to notice the bare bones, information-free state of my profile while you were spouting nonsense about how beautiful I am (picture is pretty blurry, boys, really!) and how you can't wait to hear from me? Oh, and BTW, if you want to make a positive impression on me, using punctuation, spell check and a decent approximation of Standard American English would be nice.

Remember, gentlemen, the sexiest part of a man is between his ears.

Sincerely, etc.....

gurdymonkey: (pissed)
Oh no, you did not just do that, Part 1:

You are bright.
You are beautiful.
You are a woman of many talents and accomplishments and if some of them didn't come attached to an academic degree, so what?
You are a force to be reckoned with.
You have raised and continue to raise two bright, beautiful, remarkable children who are that way due to YOUR influence and inspiration and daily presence in their lives.
You have a husband who adores you and who is the kind of life partner some of us only get to dream about.
You have friends who love you.
You have dogs who love you.

So if you don't stop believing you are a failure, I AM going to go upside your lovely head with the Smackity Fan. 'Kay?

Oh no, you did not just do that, Part 2:

Dear Local SCA Group:

While I am gratified to see that my work has inspired someone, it would have been courteous to ask permission before hotlinking directly to photos from my website, which, BTW, are copyrighted by me.

Sincerely, etc.

[I am 99% certain the culprit may be the same genius who scanned a bunch of pictures out of a book and posted them to the Tousando without attribution. You would think the discussion which followed might have given him pause. Ever since he showed up on the board he has been trying to act like he's, well, me. And he's going about it the wrong way! Cite your sources, Monkey Boy!]

EDIT: Photos have been taken down, my URL has been added, and my comment to the blog has been deleted. Had these people included email contacts for their officers, I wouldn't have had to contact them via blog commentary in the first place.

gurdymonkey: (pissed)
(Posted to SCA-West)

Please don't stand facing the King and Queen as you describe the deeds of the person being elevated. They and the peerage members are supposed to already know this stuff: you're the ones who deliberated on the invitation, right? It's the *populace* you should be telling these things and if you've got your back to us, we cannot hear you.

Please don't mosey out of court chatting to your fellow peerage members while the herald is trying to read the proclamation. Not only are you distracting people from said proclamation, your fine example simply results in cuing the populace to chat amongst themselves as well. After all, they haven't been able to hear anything of what's going on anyway, so it must not be important.

Seriously. I sat there, RIGHT  up front, less than 30 feet from the thrones and I could not hear a word of Bailey's Pel ceremony. I'm deaf but not that deaf.  Considering all the blather goes on about how the Peers Must Do More Outreach To The Populace, including the rest of us in the ceremony might be nice.

Then, there's that whole "surprise" thing, which I loathe. I know there are people who prefer to be surprised, but I believe a peerage is a job offer and should be treated as such. You want to surprise me, send me flowers. DON'T haul me up in front of a crowd and put me in an awkward position, thank you.

The other problem with the surprise gambit is that inevitably many of the candidate's friends will miss out on seeing their friend receive the honor.  As I did. As a number of people did, judging from entries posted in the last 24 hours.

Congratulations to Beli Bailey McIntyre and Vittoria Aurelii upon their elevations to the Orders of the Pelican and Laurel, whatever they might have been for.

gurdymonkey: (brain cramp)
I just found an email in my spam folder from one of the members in Moscow, asking permission to put a Russian translation of my kosode page on their site.

I thanked him and asked him to hold off until the revisions are completed.

In other news, it has become mind-numbingly obvious that nothing short of spoon feeding will suit some ungrateful whiners people. Saionji-hime remains on pilgrimage in search of her sanity until further notice.
gurdymonkey: (Default)
You're proud of your [unnamed, undescribed item to protect the guilty parties]. You slaved over it for [insert period of time here] and you can't wait for people to see it.

I'm happy for you. Really. I get it. I like showing off my work too.

But why do I feel like I'm trying to look at it through the side of a dirty fish tank? After wiping dust off my monitor? And putting on my reading glasses? And taking off my reading glasses again? And squinting. And rubbing my eyes.

Seriously, if you want to display your work, a dingy cell-cam photo shot in a dark bedroom isn't the best way to do it.

Here are some easy tips for taking a picture. These are pretty much the ones I posted when I was soliciting photos for the Samurai Eye project:

1. Natural light trumps flash. Flash trumps the inside of an old boot. If the camera can't see it well enough to register an image, neither can anyone else. At least turn on a lamp or something!
Compare inside with good afternoon light and some judicious cropping vs. flash-only and no cropping. (See, I'm not perfect either!)

2. An uncluttered background will not detract attention from your Magnificent Thingy.  Even if you're shooting in your work space at a work in progress, try to clear the immediate surroundings or crop your photo. (Can you tell how much other crap was on the counter from this picture or are you too busy looking at my work?)

3. If you've done more than three camera-in-the-bathroom mirror photos and posted them on the web, think about investing in a tripod. I got a decent one for about $20. Both the shots of me in #1 were taken with a self timer and a tripod. Practice setting up and framing your shots by figuring out reference points in your background to help you find an angle that will make you look good. Again, the blue yukata shot is better than the white Regency because I rushed the pics of the Regency and didn't take the time to set up the camera a bit better.


gurdymonkey: (Default)

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