hrj: (Default)
A couple years ago I decided I wanted to start having a "signature event" so that at least once a year I could invite friends over to hang out and enjoy the fabulous garden I work so hard on. Garden...a garden party! There's the ticket. Not a hoity-toity white gloves and watercress sandwiches garden party, but just a party. In a garden. But not just any party -- I thought it would be fun to alternate the socializing with letting anyone who wanted to do short readings from their writing. (Participating in the readings is not at all required. Participating in listening to them is, however, compulsory.)

The first one was a great success, and then I kind of dropped the ball and didn't schedule one last year. So this year I'm starting early. If this sounds like your kind of thing, save the date for Saturday June 10.

When plans get a little more advanced, there's be more information about invites and whatnot.
hrj: (doll)
Memory is a funny thing. I was just doing some fact-checking to write this little trip down memory lane and discovered that I had completely conflated the experiences of watching the first two Star Wars movies. I was all ready to reminisce about a bunch of us piling into my college housemate's car to drive off to Sacramento to watch Star Wars, and the thrill of seeing the start of a cultural phenomenon in company with a collection of geeky SCA friends, topped off by one of those amusing snafus of youth when the owner of the car announced that it "didn't do reverse" and we had to manually push it out of the parking spot before piling in to return home.

And then I checked the release date for the first Star Wars movie and realized that that couldn't possibly have happened. Because in May, 1977 I hadn't yet met the owner of that car. I didn't yet have a collection of geeky college friends. I hadn't even joined the SCA yet. (Joining the SCA happened in the fall of 1977.) I was remembering our collective movie-watching expedition to see The Empire Strikes Back, in June 1980, when I had just graduated from U.C. Davis and was dawdling in that college town working in fast food with the hope of picking up a biotech or academic-related job. (Spoiler: didn't happen. Had to move elsewhere. Long story.)

So when and where and with whom did I see the first Star Wars movie? I honestly don't recall! If I remember the U.C. Davis academic calendar correctly, I think the quarter may still have been in progress. (The UCD calendar ran later than other institutions which were on the semester system, which was an annoyance for those trying to snag summer jobs.) But I don't remember having any particularly close friends that I would have seen it with at that time. (Certainly none that would have had cars, and it wouldn't likely have been showing in Davis.) And then I was off for a brief and truncated summer job in Marin County (another long story) for less than a month before returning to my parents' house in San Diego for the rest of the summer.

I have a vague visual memory of seeing some sort of hot-topic movie with my brothers down at the El Cajon shopping center during some summer. Maybe it was that one but I don't think so because the vague memory is of showing up early for some new release and the theater manager offering us free passes in exchange for toting some boxes for him. And Star Wars wouldn't have been a new enough release at that point to have required getting in line early.

So there you are: the communal movie experience of my generation and I have no memory at all of what sort of communal context I saw it in.

I like communal movie watching. It adds a sort of ritual to the experience that helps anchor it in a social context. There are movies that I never saw in the theater because I wanted to do it in company and didn't have anyone to go with. (In recent decades, I more often go to theatrical movies by myself because it's usually a spur-of-the-moment decision. But the Concord crowd often puts out a facebook call for a communal watch, which is nice.)
hrj: (doll)
It may seem strange to talk about "surviving" conventions, given that I've scheduled myself for so many of them this year. Why would I do that to myself if I don't enjoy them for their own sake? Well, of course, I do enjoy conventions. Or rather, I can enjoy conventions…if I plan for success, have appropriate win conditions, and have a little bit of luck.

My surprised comments when I succeed in having a really good convention experience tend to go on facebook (or maybe twitter) rather than appearing here. But as I'm sitting here at the Holiday Inn in Tampa, Florida, the day before Rainbow Con is to begin, it might be worth ruminating on just how a shy introvert plans for success (on the off chance that someone else might find my techniques useful). Not saying that my plans always work out as intended! But having a plan is better than not.

1. Don't have unrealistic expectations. I will never be one of those people who shows up at a convention where I don't know anyone and walks away with twenty new best friends. I will never attend a convention where I have hordes of adoring fans clamoring for my time and attention. I will never attend a convention where simply showing up is all I need to do to have a good time.

2. Whenever possible, identify lone individuals who may be open to interaction and take the opportunity to "become real" to them. This will make it much easier later to approach groups of people that they are included in and use them as a way to include myself. For example, this afternoon I wandered down to the lounge/bar for a snack, spotted someone with a laptop and manuscript pages laid out on a table, and engaged in a lengthy interaction on the (correct) assumption that they were also here early for the convention.

3. Use my (carefully-budgeted) social energy to enable other people's interactions, rather than focusing on my own. If I have meal plans, look for other people to include in them. If I'm in a conversation, keep an eye peeled for others who might want to join in. Hard to do if I don't have that starting interaction to include people in, but it takes my focus off my own comfort and lets me feel like I have social power, which helps.

4. Know my limits. Sometimes this is knowing the point in the evening when, in the words of the Mabinogi, "it is better to go to sleep than to continue partying"[*] Sometimes this is knowing which scheduled events are going to be major pitfalls for me. Crowded noisy room parties where I don't know anyone and there's no scope for easy one-on-one conversation are pretty much a dead loss. I try to remember not to bother. I've developed some techniques for cocktail party type situations (see my post here) but I need a good reason to make it worth pulling them out.

5. Pre-arrange structured interactions with people, especially ones that will result in adding new individuals to my comfort-circle (i.e., people I feel comfortable spontaneously initiating interactions with). This goes beyond simply asking "who do I know who's going to be at event X?" It's "I'd like to meet up with you at some point during event X; could we pencil in a specific meal in advance?" I have a calendar alert set up currently to contact a couple of specific people a couple weeks out from Worldcon to make specific arrangements to get together there. Yes, an actual calendar alert. It's silly, but it's better than relying on luck. And, of course, participating in programming is an ideal sort of structured interaction. I don't have to justify my presence or my right to interact, both with the other panelists and the audience. I then have an easy reference point when meeting those panelists again.

6. This is going to sound like a contradiction to #5: avoid locking myself in to a specific schedule and program too much; leave room for spontaneous interactions (or for opting out of interacting at all, if necessary). One of the opportunities for Rainbow Con was to have an "author's table" to sell my books and as a locus for interacting with others. I immediately saw this as more of a trap than an opportunity, because if I were tied down to a table, I was at the mercy of other people choosing to interact with me. And that way lies isolation with only The Bad Voices for company. (Also, with only two publications to sell, it didn't seem like a productive use of my time.)

7. Take notes and turn them into introductions. This is a technique I learned when I first started going to academic conferences. For each panel/session I attended, I made note of a specific follow-up question for a specific person, so that I later had an excuse to approach that person and initiate a conversation. (And everyone loves talking about themself! To be sure, it's also enjoyable to have other people interested in what I have to say. But if the "win condition" is "have an interaction", the surest way to accomplish that is to give the other person an opportunity/excuse to talk.)

8. Because it bears repeating: know my limits. Know when to opt out. If I get to that point in a social event when all my emotional energy is going toward holding myself together because nobody is interacting with me or acknowledging my existence, it is well past the point when I should have left. Because once you're hiding in the ladies' room crying, the evening is never going to get any better. Trust me.

So you're thinking, "Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! Why in the world do you go to conventions when it seems like the most you can hope for is to fail to fail?" Well, because when it does work, it's fabulous. And because I do enjoy making friends and hanging out with them at conventions…when it works. And the only way I can make it work is to work at it. Other people may have a natural talent, but all I have is my talent for over-analysis.

[*] No, seriously. There's a point in the First Branch where the narrator says, "A phan welsant uot yn well udunt kymryt hun no dilyt kyuedach, y gyscu yd aethant." That is: And when they saw that it would be better for them to take sleep than to continue partying, they went to sleep."
hrj: (doll)
As previously posted, I've been wanting to come up with a "regular annual party" idea that would eventually develop its own momentum so that I could have at least one contribution to the Greater Nebulous Social Circuit with a little more meaning than "hey, everyone come over to hrj's house and hang out today." Ever since I started envisioning the garden I wanted in my back yard, the party concept has been solidly anchored in that location (and, by extension, in a particular part of the year). And thanks to [ profile] thread_walker's inspiration, I gained a concept ("readings in the garden") that gives the event a chance to develop its own personality.

For those who might think that having an outdoor party in Concord on a June afternoon is of questionable wisdom, note that I have an enormous mature mulberry tree that provides shade to a third of the yard. Yesterday's event cemented in my mind the decision that the space centered on that shade will remain undeveloped (in terms of plantings) in order to continue to benefit from this feature. I pulled every chair in the house (and from the camping gear) out into a loose circle there, set up tables with refreshments under the little utility shelter next to the house, turned on the fountain pump, and waited to see what would happen.

Turnout was quite satisfying. I'd estimate maybe around 30 unique people overall, with perhaps around 20 at a time present, with some rotation through. There was also a solid number who had planned to attend and had something Come Up at the last minute, or who simply found their lives had been over-scheduled. (This is one of the reasons why I get very anxious about organizing small get-togethers. Those are more seriously impacted by last-minute cancelations, which seem to be the rule rather than the exception these days.) A fair number of people thought to bring their own garden chairs, which I shall suggest in the future, since we would have been cramped for seating otherwise.

The attendees satisfied my interest in mixing up my social circles a bit: a fair number of SCA friends, brothers, people I know from sf fandom, and several lovely new friends I've gained from lesbian publishing circles. Having the literary theme meant that everyone who attended automatically had something in common, and it gave folks a chance to pull out material that they wouldn't necessarily have a chance to present in our usual intersections.

My original idea for the readings was to have "sets" of people reading, with everyone getting one time-slot, but in the spontaneity of the moment, we ended up with three sessions with everyone who wanted to participating in all the sessions. I'd guess that presenters made up about 1/4 to 1/3 of those present. If there are larger numbers of presenters in the future, no doubt the format will change, but as it was, my firm decision to be unprogrammed and spontaneous worked perfectly. We had story excerpts, poetry, songs--all original works (though I did tell a couple of people who hadn't come with original material that they'd be welcome to contribute as well). There was more than one work-in-progress presented that I hope to see in published form some day.

(For my own contributions, I did opening excerpts from three of my short stories that are in finished-but-not-yet-published state.)

The posted hours were "noonish to sixish". People started trickling in shortly after noon and I think we may have started the first readings perhaps by 1:30? I didn't look at the clock at all during the event, so I'm not sure how long things took. I'd guess there was maybe an hour of general conversation in between each of the reading sets. There were a few departures a bit after the second set of readings. When I called for the third set of readings, I had the definite impression that the party was likely to break up when they were finished, which indeed was the case. A solid crew of people stayed to help me put food and furniture away, and then a smaller group decided to go out to dinner afterward. We headed out right around "sixish" so it looks like my original scheduling was on target. (Though I could easily see scope for continuing on into the evening on a future occasion if more substantial food were on offer and if people felt free to rotate in and out over the day. I will need to keep this in mind.)

Food planning hit the target as well. There was a small amount of pre-planning with people who offered to bring contributions. I served up some backbone snacks (crudités, cheese cubes, deviled eggs). And given the usual suspects, other contributions showed up as well. I had originally mentioned BBQ, but decided that firing up the grill would distract too much from the literary activities. As I say, if at some point it looks like the event could expand into the evening, that may change.

One of the significant problems I need to address in the future is how to expand a "general open invitation to people I have some connection to" in a way that doesn't rely so heavily on facebook, but doesn't open me up entirely to random strangers showing up.

So if you think this sounds interesting, pencil it in for next June. I'll definitely be doing it again!
hrj: (doll)
At some point after I moved to Concord, five years ago, I decided that I needed a "signature party" like all my friends seemed to have. I have a hard time dealing with the details of planning social events, but I figured that some sort of open-invite theme party would be within my cope-scope.

As my garden started taking shape, it became clear to me that it needed to be the context for my signature party…which gave me an excuse to put it off for a while until I felt the yard was in the proper shape. At some point this winter, I set myself the goal of getting everything in shape to have my first garden party this year.

The second part of my party theme came courtesy of [ profile] thread_walker, who suggested that I invite all my author friends to come and read from their works. It sounded like the perfect excuse for bringing together friends from all my different social circles, and everyone could be audience, after all! So I scanned the calendar and picked a date that didn't conflict too badly with anything I was aware of. That would be next Saturday. (If you're local, would like to come, and haven't received an invitation either because you aren't on facebook or because I didn't think you'd be interested, let me know.)

In addition to the incremental improvements to the garden, the big project in preparation was taking out the annoying concrete walkway along the back side of the yard. This was necessary so that I could finish installing the last bit of the "formal garden", which overlapped the walkway slightly. I haven't gotten very far at filling in the shallow trench this project produced, but we'll cope.

So today's project was cleaning up the back yard: mowing, raking, some pruning. Tomorrow I finish laying out the walkways in the formal garden and get the fountain cleaned, adjusted, and running. Oh, and clean up the inside of the house a little bit. Heck, maybe I'll finish the "complete once-through housecleaning" I started back in January.

Heres's where the party will be held (or actually: in the shade of the mulberry tree off to the right of this).

NYC Day 2

Nov. 21st, 2012 08:42 pm
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After dinner yesterday, we went out to see Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. It was visually striking and clever and the aerial work was breathtaking, although I have to say that the music was, for the most part, forgettable. A romp, though not a classic.

Last night, alas, my winter cold decided to manifest itself again and I'm dealing with a minor sore throat. So much for the theory that I could head it off entirely.

Today we nattered around a bit in the morning then went out to meet people for lunch (various textile-geek friends and their relations). In the middle of lunch I had to step out to take the pre-scheduled call from Bella Books, mentioned in the previous post. (I'd gotten an initial e-mail from them last Thursday saying they wanted to talk to me, but I didn't want to make any public announcements until I'd actually confirmed the substance of that talk.) Then there was a stroll along the Macy's parade set-up route, watching them blow up balloons. Later there was dinner with a small crowd of GFiNY's theater friends, after which I got a whirlwind pre-performance tour of several of the most gorgeously restored theaters, slipping out of the last one just as the doors were opening. I felt deliciously "inside".

Now it's a dose of cold medicine to help me sleep and then up in the morning to take the train down to Baltimore for Darkovercon. There was a brief panic when we heard that a switching problem had shut down Penn Station in NY tonight (it's a bit confusing since our trip is from Penn Station in NY to Penn STation in Baltimore) but by the time I'd gone online to check it out, they say the power was restored and things were operating almost normally.

NYC Day 1

Nov. 20th, 2012 05:33 pm
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If I don't post a trip report as I go along, I won't remember to do it at all.

Uneventful flight to Kennedy airport, at which I was met by my Girlfriend in New York, hereafter to be referred to in usual LJ pseudonymy as "GFiNY". We took an assortment of public transit to get back to her apartment, which is literally half a block from Central Part (and just across the street from the Dakota of John Lennon fame). I feel a bit like I've fallen into some sort of archetypal Old New York experience. I don't believe I've ever previously visited someone where you get let into the building by an actual doorman. The building was originally build as a hotel, so the kitchen-like-object literally started out as a closet, but the first-floor lobby is all glitzed up with stone tiles and ceiling ornaments and whatnot. We went out to dinner at an Italian place in Grenwich Village and then did a bit of a walking tour all around that area afterwards before toddling off back home.

This morning we started out with a stroll across Central Park, followed by wandering around a tiny snippet of the Met (mostly the Egyptian, Roman, and Medieval rooms) and lunch. Then more walking tour of downtown architecture (I love the little narrow old buildings squashed between later additions), a stop for coffee, then a look at a private textile exhibit (which was supposed to be a meetup with one of GFiNY's friends but she didn't show), more walking tour plus subway back. There will be sending out for Chinese and then we're off to a show. (Spiderman.)

I still have no holistic understanding of the subway system, but so far I haven't needed to.
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As planned, got up earlyish (for a weekend) this morning to take the Oakland-SF ferry from Jack London Square to the SF Ferry Building. (I had a momentary "did I misread the schedule" moment when the boat went past the Ferry Building for its first stop at Pier 39 -- I hadn't noticed that it does a circle route at that end rather than doing all the stops in a line in each direction.) I highly recommend the trip, whether or not one has out of town guests to provide the excuse. You get an entirely different view of the bay and the various harbors than you get from freeways and bridges. The trip is relatively short and very smooth. It makes me wish we had regular ferry service from either Emeryville or Berkeley. But if I ever decide to do a bike ride on Angel Island, the clear choice is to take the bike over on the ferry.

We had great fun browsing our way through the farmers' market (and I picked up various things for tomorrow's dinner) and bumped into [ profile] j_i_m_r, [ profile] tafelspitz, [ profile] learnteach & friend (who I don't know if she has an LJ handle). Tasted many more delicious things than I was willing to buy and carry home.

I want my own local farmers' market. The neighborhood e-mail list had a note recently from Official Emeryville Sources that negotiations are currently in progress to have one in the E'ville town hall area, I think on Thursdays. The hours would mean I'd have to go straight from work to the market, but I'm looking forward to seeing who/what they get for vendors. I know there are various east bay farmers' markets, but one close enough to bike to and on a week day (so that it could be part of a regular schedule) would be ideal.
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A very satisfying day Monday. Dropped off a couple of shawms with their maker in Menlo Park for a tune-up then meandered up over the hills to get to Hwy 1. Parked at one of the many little state beaches and did a bunch of wandering around in the sand and surf, poking at pretty rocks and shells. Hiked up to the top of a cliff and tried to identify all sorts of flora. Then we drove casually down the coast a bit and had lunch at a taqueria in Pescadero. On to Año Nuevo beach and hiked out to the elephant seal viewing area. Then on to Santa Cruz where we met [ profile] ritaxis for dinner on the pier, viewing sea lions, and a brief walking tour of bits along the way. (There was also the episode with the ticks. It seems that a number of ticks had decided to come along for the ride at some point in our hiking. I didn't manage to get any, but the guests were thoroughly icked out.)

Now I'm back at work and the houseguests are off with my car to Mendocino for a couple days. Next on the tourist agenda will be a Saturday morning excursion on the Oakland-SF ferry to see the bay and go to the SF ferry building farmer's market. If anybody'd like to join us, either for the ferry ride or just for the farmer's market stroll, let me know so we can coordinate.
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[ profile] shalmestere and [ profile] hudebnik are out visiting for a couple of weeks and using my place as a home base, so today I implemented the first step of the Bay Area Essential Tourist Plan and took them up to Muir Woods, preceded by a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and followed by a driving tour of the Tiburon area (i.e., the long way around to the Richmond Bridge). We did a fair bit of hiking among the redwoods and had a nice little picnic up on the top of a ridge. (I highly recommend the Muir Woods shuttle bus unless you're one of those people who gets up early enough in the morning to park within a one mile radius of the park entrance.)

Tomorrow it's over to Menlo Park to so that some musical instruments can meet their maker (in the literal sense) for some adjustment, then continuing the tourist program we'll pop over to the coast and slowly make our way down Hwy 1 to Santa Cruz, with stops for ocean interaction. With luck, we may be able to add to our party for dinner in Santa Cruz before heading home.

After that they're on their own for the week, but next Saturday the plan is to take the Oakland-SF ferry (one should, after all, take advantage of having guests to do all the touristy things one never gets to on one's own) to take in the Ferry Building farmer's market. Meet-ups are encouraged. I'm starting to put together plans for a dinner party that Sunday. And then it's a week of Berkeley Early Music Festival for them until it's time to go.
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It was a lovely intimate little tea party, with [ profile] acanthusleaf, [ profile] ldyanna, and [ profile] joycebre in attendence:

The basic idea was to put together a light afternoon tea that was appropriate for the 1870s (the original date of the tea set) and if possible included foods mentioned in great-great-grandpa Abiel's diaries. The diary angle was tough (although I always enjoy getting sucked into reading it) because he didn't tend to write about food in detail. Interested in more? )
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I think I'll count today as the first day of my new year. Yesterday involved getting up at 5am (in the Boston Airport Hilton) and finally making it home. Good parts included having a non-stop flight and getting seated in an exit row (yay legroom!). What I really wanted to do was go out to do some grocery shopping and then get started on some "start the new year right" housecleaning. But instead I went off to a neighborhood lesbian social gathering (a recurring group that I've been trying to get to for the last half year or so with no success on the calendar-conflict front). Not sure yet whether it will be a productive addition to my social life. I had a few nice conversations, but I felt rather out-of-sync either compounded by or due to a deep underlying need to decompress from my vacation rather than spending an afternoon in a crowd of strangers. So I ended up leaving early with a promise to come to more of the gatherings in the future. The first three grocery stores I hit were all closed for the day, so I gave up on that end. This all contributed to deciding to hit the sack around 8pm ... which in turn contributed to waking up this morning at 5am with no hope of sleeping further.

So I started the day with a nice little breakfast that featured several food items that friends have given me over the last year that I was "saving for a special occasion". Then I went off to brows the LibriVox web site to pick up a couple more of Karen Savage's recordings (doesn't much matter what she's reading, she's such a joy to listen to). And on impulse I went ahead and set up an account at the site with an eye to possibly contributing to the project.

I went back and reviewed the irresolutions that I posted last year and decided that the half-year discombobulation front of 2009 absolved me from any requirement to have completed them (although I didn't do too badly, all in all).

Today's goal is to go pick up the last Xmas present that was presented in promissory form in Maine, possibly see the new Sherlock Holmes movie, and start that "start the new year right" housecleaning.
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Dragged out my old Victorian riding habit for Dickens Faire tomorrow and determined that it was passable with some quick and dirty taking in at several places. Unlike a number of other outfits, I'm unlikely to do serious alterations on this one (but will probably also keep it around). It just isn't an era I do much costuming in but it's useful to have something to wear. I have a bit of a fascination with riding habits as a genre and it provides an excuse for not bothering with excessive underpinnings.

I'll be quite the social butterfly this weekend: Dickens with [ profile] xrian, [ profile] scotica and possibly others; [ profile] etaine_pommier's cookie party; and then [ profile] tafelspitz's aebelskiver breakfast. I suppose I should also get the holiday cards addressed and mailed (probably no chatty letter this time, easier than figuring out what to say) and at least start brainstorming on gift-shopping.

Still writing every day. Have a good handle on how I want to approach name-generation, but I need to sit down and actually apply the sound rules to a large body of name-candidates and see what starts sticking to which characters. (I have, however, drawn up an extensive list of People and Places That Need Names.) I'm starting to think that, having solidly laid down Part I, it may not be that bad an idea to have jumped to the end and started working backwards from Part V. I'm "discovering" a number of useful and convenient things that are going to have happened, and working backwards makes it easier to set them up. Still, not the most natural way to work (and probably not the most efficient in the long run.)
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Yesterday I went off to Cyn's "Terrible Teens" tea party, which inspired me to indulge in a late-night sewing session Friday to make something to wear for it (the Past Patterns "Armistice Blouse" and a plain gathered skirt in the same pale blue linen batiste), although matching costume was not required, only appreciated. There are a couple of fixes I want to make in the outfit before it settles into that "completed -- and therefore not to be changed" state: the skirt wants a set of tucks near the hem, and the central placket needs to be about an inch taller (which should be easy since it's a separate piece).

It was a lovely afternoon of nibbling on delicious era-appropriate food, drinking tea, and indulging in wide-ranging conversation with a group of intelligent and personable women. (There was also one very very young man present, but he isn't up to engaging in conversation yet.) There's been a series of tea parties being held among an amorphous group of locals who think the idea of tea parties is really cool -- this is the first of them I've actually been able to make.

I've put in my bid to do one in January (need to pin down which of the currently-open weekends to schedule it for) as I've wanted for ages to use my great-great-grandparents' tea service for its proper purpose. I'll probably use the 1870s as the target for the food, since that spans the majority of their married life.

Today is unscheduled (thank goodness!) which means I have an entire to-do list ahead of me.
* Move the computer desk upstairs (with accompanying arrangements upstairs) so that the loom can be put into its home.
* Take pictures of the loom to send to the descendent-of-the-manufacturing-company with inquiries whether they can help me with some replacement cables for it.
* Try the two most-likely fixes for the kernal panic of the iMac.

And, of course, continue my successful stint at IWriSloMo and put in another day's efforts at novel writing. (I haven't always written much on any given day, but I've written something every day.)
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Dashing hither and yon all weekend. Saturday I dropped by Crown Tourney for a couple hours in the morning, mostly to drop off the tunic I made for the Prince of the Mists (who was gratifyingly appreciative). Then it was off to [ profile] badassslinky's wedding (fortunately, also in the South Bay). That was a bit of an emotional smorgasboard: she was radiantly beautiful (of course); when her brother walked her up the aisle it really struck me how he's made the transition from "kid" to "man"; on the other hand, I wasn't the only person pondering that the last time I'd been in that church was for [ profile] maestrateresa's funeral. There was one point at the reception, when [ profile] badassslinky and her husband were dancing, and she turned just so and I saw [ profile] maestrateresa in her face. A very joyous day, all in all.

Then it was back to the Crown site to hang out a bit, even though the "Booze for Boobs" fundraiser isn't really my style. I got some nice conversations in, but when most of your friends are participating in a ritual of recreational drunkenness (even the ones who aren't themselves drinking) it gets a bit boring when that isn't your thing. And anyway it was cold and I had to get up early to come back Sunday for peerage meetings, so I didn't stay very late. Stayed through last court on Sunday, mostly to see [ profile] dave_orphal receive a Pelican. Then swung by [ profile] mad_duchess's post-Crown-and-housewarming party for a while. I see why she fell in love with that house! I do so love the craftsman style -- especially the built-ins.

Over dinner I started browsing various 14th c. cookbooks in preparation for the cooks' play-date at Coronet. For some reason I'd been thinking coronet came right on the heels of crown, but I have a weekend off in between them. So that gives me a little more time to choose a source and pick some recipes to try. Oh, and belatedly send off my class proposals for Collegium. (The original call for classes came out during the Investigation That Ate My Life.) And then there's the loom to work on! I think I've decided that my first "test" project will be some narrow tabby wool based on the specs for the Dublin Viking caps that I taught at the A&S Tourney. (The wool caps were mostly made out of a 20-25cm wide fabric, and having the selvedges on both edges affects the sewing techniques, so it would be cool to be able to make them out of fabric the right width.) After that maybe I'll try a length of diamond twill sufficient for a Thorsbjerg tunic. And then ....
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I made a big dent in dealing with the archaeological strata on the dining room table. Most of it was various pieces of paperwork that needed to be sorting through for either filing or disposal. The major incentive was the need to clear the table for dining with [ profile] goldenstag, [ profile] aastg, and the youngest brother coming over.

[ profile] aastg and I had the planned objective of looking at sealing methods for early medieval Welsh charters in order to finalize the plans for sealing my laurel scroll, for which purpose the collection of charter photos at the National Library of Wales' Digital Mirror site was invaluable. ([profile] ermine_rat finished the scroll a couple years ago, but first there as the fruitless attempt to hunt down the original issuing royalty for signatures and then it's been kicking around for special seal handling for the last year or so. And given that the award was given nearly 30 years ago, it's not like there's a sense of urgency.)

The youngest brother was there for the purpose of utilizing HRJ's airport satellite parking lot and shuttle service.

We started out with sourdough baguette with two kinds of bruschetta (tomato and artichoke) and some Cowgirl Creamery "Mt. Tam" cheese. A salad followed, with sliced heirloom tomatoes and snake cucumber (from the CSA box) plus fresh mozzarella, all sprinkled with truffle salt. (Yes, I have a serious thing about tomatoes and truffle salt. I'm sure I'll get tired of it after a few years.) At this point I discovered that the big propane canister on the grill had run out -- with the lemon-basil chicken nicely browned but not yet cooked through -- so I tossed it in the oven and rearranged the dishes. We went straight to the cold tomatillo soup (which counts as a "mystery produce" item because I've never cooked it before -- another CSA box item), followed by corn-on-the-cob, with the roast chicken bringing up the rear. (Recipe: in a food processor, combine 3 cloves garlic, a handful fresh basil, zest and juice of 3 lemons, and one stick butter. Work this in under the skin of the chicken. Fill the cavity with the spent lemon rinds and truss on the rotisserie. Or if the propane runs out ... roast at 350. Cook until the proper internal temperature.) Finished up with mango sorbet. It wasn't exactly a menu designed for the brother's more narrow tastes, but I don't think he'll starve.

Then it was off to SFO the long way around through San Mateo (since the Bay Bridge looked like a parking lot) and twice around the domestic terminals before we hauled out the iPhone to go online and discover that Jet Blue operates out of the international terminal.

This morning I took in a silly movie (G-Force in 3D -- I'm just a sucker for those 3D animated flicks), put in a 15 mile bike ride along the bay (to make up for skipping the gym Friday), dropped by my haircut place to make an appointment before the trip east (they squeezed me in Thursday after work -- just barely in time), then continued dealing with paper strata (which had ended up being moved in stacks to a shelf to clear the table last night).

To-do this week: drop by the credit union for deposits and to pick up the new checks (which they don't seem to have notified me had come in -- I noticed the debit came through on last months statement, so I assume they have them); look into the previously mentioned credit card mystery; buy cat food; process most of the produce box into non-perishable form (since I'll be off in New York for half the week); pack; get my hair cut; briefly contemplate going shopping for something new to wear on the trip (the event is my uncle and aunt's 50th wedding anniversary) and decide I don't have time and have perfectly reasonable things to wear already; verify cat-sitting coverage; verify transit schedules to the airport. Oh, and work on a massively important investigation report at work. (After gloating that at least someone else was the principal investigator for this one ... they transferred it to me after all. I am, of course, flattered and comforted.)
hrj: (Default)
Mostly behind a cut, due to being image-heavy, but here's the final pic as a teaser. Read more... )
And that was my weekend as a Death Ride groupie.

The scary thing is that I'm feeling just a little bit inspired ....

a few more details )
hrj: (Default)
Saturday went out with [ profile] duchessletitia, [ profile] scotica, and [ profile] klwilliams for dinner and Wicked in San Francisco. Loved Wicked, but to tell the many ways in which I loved it would be to give spoilers for some details that were most enjoyable for having been surprises. After that I crashed at [ profile] duchessletitia's place so we could get on the road early to drive up to Quincy for part of Cynagua Coronet. It was very laid back on my end: since I was doing my lady-in-waiting thing, I didn't plan on any other activities or distractions. And since we were being fed and hosted, I decided to bring the sleeping platform for the Element and not bother with tentage or anything. So, all in all, a very low maintenance event and a lovely drive up Hwy 70 and back. I had a bit of fun participating in a low-key bardic Sunday evening ... although I failed to remember all the words to any of the songs I tried to sing. Did some experimentation and did a slight elaboration on a story from Giraldus Cambrensis and, after reciting the first few lines of Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed as a party trick (that is, the party trick is reciting them in the original medieval Welsh), I was encouraged into a highly interpretive retelling of the entire first episode of the story which I think managed to avoid the usual deathly flaws of impromptu storytelling. I really should work on memorizing more of the opening, though.
hrj: (Default)
Having discovered that at least one member of my immediate family has a Facebook account, I have wasted the last couple of hours creating one of my own and attempting to populate the profile information with relevant data about me. I have no idea what I'll do with it -- browsing the various interest groups and whatnot gives a rather bleak (and no doubt false) notion of the sophistication of the majority of members. I'll probably treat it the way I do my LJ: gradually accrete "friends" and links as I come across them and see what develops. I haven't previously been keeping track of who among my friends has a presence there, so if you do and would be interested in exchanging links, drop me a private (or public, as you wish) note.
hrj: (Default)
First it was dancing at Kalamazoo. Today it was going out with the co-workers for bowling and beer (well, ok, cider in my case). I've dared them to make the next excursion involve karaoke. You'd think I was a normal human being or something.


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