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Friday, August 24th, 2007
7:46 am - Break from Pennsic for a moment
Yesterday i called Borders to see if a special order finally came in. I ordered it about a month ago and as i was at Pennsic when it should have come in, decided to check on its status. A previous order got cancelled somehow, but not by me, so now i double check.
But it had arrived - "Prehistoric Music of Ireland" by Simon O'Dwyer.
Basically an overview of the Archaeological finds of musical instruments found in Ireland from the Stone Age to Early Medieval Period.
Already it has added details that i was unaware of regarding the construction and playing of the Bronze Age cast Trumpets and the Iron Age War Trumpets. One pipe dream is to start contruction of a sheet bronze War Horn this Winter ( still need to build work tables and such for the basement )
It may be awhile till the next post. I am about to break a long standing personal rule and install a computer in my home. I need to have a friend look at what i have and see if it is even adequate for what i have in mind. That and buying whatever equipment i may need and shopping aroud for an internet provider may take some time. Hope to be up and running by October at the latest.

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Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
12:19 pm - Pennsic XXXVI - continued
The only other negatives aside from weather and 1950's monster movie insects were associated with running into a former girlfriend.
I did the courteous thing and invited her to dinner at the encampment. It was the night that i was responsible for cooking the main meal, and as there was alot for the number of people in camp this wasn't a problem.
The meal was Puerco Pibil ( Yucatan slow-roasted Pork ) I used the recipe that Robert Rodriguez included in the "10 minute cooking school" short included in the extras on the "Once Upon A Time in Mexico" DVD collection.
Very spicy, even without the Habanero Peppers ( didn't have these, couldn't find them at the local food market, so i used Bird's Eye Thai Peppers. Only slightly less hot ). On a bed of Basmati Rice. Drinks were a variety of Beer and Hard Cider.
So as the stuff is slow cooking, i go to deliver the official invite myself. So i deck myself in PreChristian Celtic Finery ( Lots of throwing sharp and pointies, a small shield, braccae, bog shoes and various bits of jewellery, specifically a really nice silver torc. )
Everything went well until she introduced me to the group she was with.
I was not-so-subtly insulted. I did not rise to the bait and ignored the ignoramus. When i called her on it later, she allowed as to how it was very deliberate.
Returned to camp to continue waiting. The food itself was good when we took it off the fire, but probably could have stood another 30 min./hour.
She showed up and after intros all around, very noticably ignored me unless directly cornered into conversation. Then she took a different tack, and tried to recruit me into entering a submission to the art gallery that she is associated with. When i didn't bite, things got chilly.
I could be wrong, and likely am on some of the fine details, but her world and the people in it are defined by what use they are to her.
The good thing of this is that i need never extend myself to her past saying "Hello, nice to see you" again if i choose not to. So the last hook is dislodged, rusting, to the streambed. Yaaa. And there was much ( quiet ) rejoicing.
Next: Atlatls and Shopping

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2007
12:23 pm - Pennsic XXXVI - continued
Now for several of the less than pleasant bits.
Aside from a very brief period on Wednesday the 8th. and Friday/Saturday the 10th./11th.( which were gorgeous ), it was wetter than SouthEast Asia.
The most unpleasant aspect was the constant dampness; humidity well over 100%. Nothing was or remained dry. So, Wednesday all of us in the encampment "Vestgard & the Green Witch Village" dragged near everything out of our tents to air dry once we saw that the Sun was not just a myth. We were camped down in the area known as "The Swamp", one of the low spots in this huge campground. But it is in the trees, and often there is a breeze. It is usually at least 10 degrees F. cooler here than anywhere else. The high ground North of the lake, especially the area called "The Serengetti", is ferociously hot: It is very nearlly impossible to remain in a tent up there after about 9:00 AM. for the heat of the sun which drives temperatures up to well above 100 degrees F.
It cleared about Noon on Wednesday. But about 3:00 PM we started hearing the rumbling of distant thunder. We thought we had time.
Then there was what at first was a low grade roar that we heard. It was getting closer. Pretty much at the same instant, all of us realised that what we were hearing was the rapidly approaching rain front of Monsoon strength.
All of us scrambled, throwing everything back into our tents, dry or not.
Some of the area normally given to our camps use was taken by a neighboring group because the administration of the campground was doing leveling and grading of the area they use. Some of their tents were in the drainage ditch that runs through block W20. under normal cicumstances even during rain, there is no standing water here. But is is clear looking at it that is is basically an overgrown, dried stream bed.
Inside of 10 minutes, three, maybe four tents were about three feet under water. I grabbed a shovel and headed across the road ( culvert connects the low spots ) to the out flow to the creek, and with another persons help ( whose camp on that side of the road was also under water ) excavated the ditch to the lowest level of the stream bed. After about 10 more minutes the water level was down to about 6 inches.
In many spots gravelly mud was almost mid-shin depth.
A note on this for the future: Basically a week of solid rain and/or damp conditions does not make for happy feet. After awhile, even if wearing sandals, you'll develope blisters. Shortly after that, your feet will not ache so much as the skin stings constantly, making walking *very* painful. And you'll be doing alot of walking: this campground is huge.
I am usually less squeamish about things with more than four legs than most people. But this taxed my tolerance. Wasps almost 4" long - i ain't exagerating. Cicada Killers. Know how i know? They were *carrying* ( and dwarfed ) Cicadas. Beetles of incredible variety, Earwigs of a size hard to credit, Wolf Spiders literally the size of Tarantulas.
Thanks to a diet high in Garlic ( In Italian Food, to me, no-such thing as too much ) and Spices, i am proof agaist most Ticks and Mosquitos. So the five bites i have are obviously from Skeeters that like spicy food. This did not prevent every multi-legged thing from insisting on sharing my tent. Sorry, when a Wolf Spider dances on your face at 2:00 AM, you really need to die.

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Monday, August 20th, 2007
12:42 pm - Pennsic XXXVI
I got back from Pennsic ten days ago - Saturday, August 11. It has been twenty years since the first, and only time prior to this that i was there - Pennsic XVII in Summer of 1987.
I may back and fill-in information of my first Pennsic. That experience, even though i was there less than twenty-four hours, helped to cement my opinion of the SCA.
some of my prejudices against the SCA are still firmly in place, if not stronger than before. Others, have disappeared or at least been modified by the new experience.
Overall, this time around was about 90% positive. Most emcampmentrs that i visited were very welcoming: People were polite and considerate. Usually the first words out of someone's mouth, after initial introductions, was along the lines of "Are you hungry; do you want some thing to eat? Something to drink?" At the slightest sign of assent, a beer would be slapped into your hand ( Guinness, no less; at least in the Celtic Camps ) and you would be piled with food to tax the healthiest appetite. And very good fare it was -
Spareribs, steak, beef, chicken ( can you tell yet that i'm not a vegetarian? ) Shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cobb, Stir fry veggies and more varied desserts than can readily be numbered.
More later.............

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Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
4:47 pm - Two points of interest on I68 in Maryland - continued
The wildly convoluted lines of the strata were caused by the pressures of the push of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge against the North American Plate. But to my eye the lean of the strata toward the East would indicated a push from the West, or middle of the North American Plate. This seems to be odd as there is no Plate Boundary closer than the Pacific Coast.
The visitors center is at the base of the cut, and a protected path offers access to partway up the North side of the cut for a closer view of rock layers. I wish that i had more time to stop and see this up close. Not sure how old this section of sediment is, but there might be fossils. Oh, and a correction: it is Sideling Hill, not Seidling Hill.

The other sight worth taking in is the town of Cumberland, Maryland which I68 passes through. Or over as the case maybe. At this point, I68 is an overpass which arcs over the town. Cumberland reminds me of the town i live in and the small city just North of me, but more so. Cumberland is built on a series of steep sided hills or small mountains, less precipitous than the spires of rock seen in Chinese Landscapes but the effect is rather similar. The town also seems to spread down into the sharp sided valleys.
There is one hill in particular on the right ( North ) side of I68 that caught my attention as i passed. The area of the top of this hill looked to be somewhat small, no more than a few city blocks in extent. But it had at least four separate Churches, with as many distinctly styled steeples. I wondered what this would look like with the red-gold of the setting sun washing them. One of the prettiest towns i have ever seen.

On Route 40, in Pennsylvania there is a stupendous incline. So potentially dangerous that freight truck drivers are offered an alternate route. This drops down toward the West at a grade that seems to be over 10% and goes for about ten or more miles before leveling out sufficiently for the speed limit ( for trucks ) to be lifted from ten miles an hour. Needless to say the view is breathtaking; what can be seen that is between keeping the car on the road which snakes down the mountain in a series of tight curves and switchbacks.
Checking the map, this area is in all likelyhood the Southwestern side of Mount Davis, the highest elevation in Pennsylvania.

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12:13 pm - Two points of interest on I68 in Maryland
Aside from minor depression, i did see a few things heading out to Elionwyr that were wonderful. In an effort to save near non-existant spare cash and avoid the $8.75 toll on the Pa Turnpike ( faster yes, and scenic in its own way but you pay for Speed ), i decided to take 81 South into Maryland where i picked up I70 West to I68 West.
The first thing i noticed was that the topography is a lot more dramatic than anywhere in Pennsylvania that i've ever been; the mountains steeper ( if not actually higher in elevation ) and the valleys deeper. The entire drive presented incredible vistas going out to the limits of vision.
On I68 heading West, you'll see from miles away a sharp cut in a distant mountain, bare of any vegetation, like a tiny portion of a Southwestern canyon dropped on top of an Appalachian mountain. Eventually you'll realise that I68 goes through this gap. It takes longer to get there than would seem apparant, testimony to the size of this.
Seidling Hill is impressive enough that the highway commisssion actually built a visitor center. Why they didn't just drill a tunnel through this mountain is beyond me; it would have been easier. But the cut, to my eye at least 200 - 300 feet deep, and possibly more, laid bare the strata of the stone. Different colors, mainly tans, orangy siennas, and brick reds predominate. But not a nice stacked layering or a straight incline. Something powerful was at work here: the layers are curved and humped like the equaliser print of a dramatic piece of music.
More later

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7:02 am - Back to work; Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho...@#4%&8'n Grrr
More rain here; suits the mood which is low key and sad. I never get to see the people i care about enough, and anymore, leaving to come home feels like exile. I meet very few individules, fewer that i resonate with. And whether this sounds arrogant or not it seems to be true if only for myself, from my perception: those that i love either never were common or we are going extinct. Regardless, they are scattered and thin on the Earth. A part of Purgatory or Hell is being separated from those you love.
Elionwyr had to work; alot. Everyday as a matter of fact and they bounced her schedule around. Fiendish, We hatessss it forever! But i did get a tour in daylight of the Castle and was duely impressed by the ammount of work that went into not only the structure ( actors corridor ) layout but the sheer detailing and layering of props. She also played a video of the first house a few miles away in a neighboring town. From what i understand, the local town government shut it down. A crying shame because the interior really was creepy and looked like a *very* elaborate set from a high end movie.
Also, i finally got introduced to BPAL imps. I've been puzzled reading some journals about these. I remember Raging Bunny, and some Piraty fragrance that seemed to have coconut in it. I may actually try some of these eventually. I usually figure frequent showers are enough for a good or at least neutral scent. I can't readily see myself wearing Old Spice or Tag; the advertisements are enough to turn me off.
In fact, i packed the car yesterday morning before Elionwyr woke up. When i left, i wanted to leave without a backward glance. We hugged and clung abit before breaking contact.
"Take care of yourself."
"You too. We'll talk soon."
And i was off. All the way back to the Hills North, i kept getting powerful waves of scent from whatever she put on. Some must have rubbed off on me. Even after i got home, and laid down for a nap ( not tired per se, just mildly depressed ) i got olfactory echos. It was some small comfort.
But now, i sit at work ( the only place of access to a computer ) getting ready to wade through electrical diagram layouts. Sigh..............

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Friday, June 30th, 2006
4:43 pm - ID4 2006 Weekend
Heading out tomorrow to visit friends. A massive cookout/party thrown by someone i know through historical reenactment. Berthorga,( "Daughter of Thor" not her actual name ) is a member of the Ostvik Viking Group that i met a few years ago at the Marching Through Time event held at the Marietta House in Glenn Dale, Maryland.
So, i pack the car tonight after i get home from dinner with friends. I'll be carrying a cutting stand, empty gallon jugs and a modest supply of sharp and pointys.
And best of all, i'll be seeing elionwyr ( *dances* ), one of my favorite people! Need to bake some brownies tonight/tomorrow and mix up a dark chocolate sauce. I recall from her jounal that she had a ( thwarted ) desire for a brownie sundae a few days ago. I can do this.
bouncing with anticipation!

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Tuesday, June 27th, 2006
6:39 am - Celtic Fling, etc. - Part III
To pick up the story from where it was left off yesterday:
I saw Barb at Dave's stand. I already knew from a conversation earlier that week with a friend who lives in Maryland what to expect appearance wise. Seems my friend in MD. was vending at a Pagan event the previous week and ran into Barb, who has lost considerable weight and was sporting really short hair. Dominating theme of conversation: Barb's favorite subject - Barb; the font of wisdom, desired of anything with male equipment. The be-all, end-all.
She has lost weight and yes, her hair is short. 'Side from that i didn't see much else, never looked directly at her. The easiest thing would have been to walk away and come back later after she had left. Ego took over however and i walked up - i have been going to these events for a long time, alot longer than ever i met her or was dating her. To walk away would have felt like a Monty Python "RUN AWAY!, RUN AWAY!" ( though as a stand in for the Black Beast of AAARRRRGGGH, she's a ringer ) I started talking to Dave.
When i'm around people i either do not like or trust, i keep at least enough attention on them to know where they are at relative to where i'm at. Paranoid force of habit. Out of the corner of my eye, i see Barb talking to Deb in soto vocce tones. Barb keeps trying to maneuver so that her back is to me. Folks, the body language says it all even if you can't hear the actual conversation or read lips.
I mention to Dave that i'm doing a decent job of ignoring her. Shortly after this i notice a book on Gaelic Swordsmanship that i've never seen, pick it up and start to read.Anyone who knows me well enough knows that chances are sooner or later, my nose will be in a book. I can lose myself very easily by reading. At about this point i notice her move up on my left. Now, to make it clear, the following was not done maliciously: she punched me lightly on my left bicep ( i guess to get my attention ) and said some kind of general "Hi, how are you" or somesuch.
Honest to god, the only thing i can remember thinking was "Dont touch me; you don't have the right." I looked up briefly, said "Hi." and went back to reading.
I did the bare minimum requirement of civility; i acknowledged her existance. That's all that was required, and even that was generous. I did not want to invite even the possibility of a conversation. I read until i knew she had cleared off at least from me, and started talking to Dave about the book.
At which point Deb comes up and rounds on me with "Why were you so rude to your ex-girlfriend?" I was caught off guard and said something to the effect of "ex" being the operative word. "Well she meant something to you at one time." I'm not conveying the heat she put into this, more than seemed to me than was required or necessary.
"Why are you giving me shit about this?" Any follow up i would have said was curtailed by Dave hushing us both with "Not here!" Deb stalked off giving me a truely evil glare.
"What the fuck was that, Dave?" Stony silence followed by another "Not here!"
Here's the thing: David knows both Barb and myself, he also knows that we dated each other. Deb never to my recollection ever met Barb in my company, so the only way for her to know that Barb was an "ex" was if Barb told her during the five or so minutes after i walked up to the stand. Even if my memory is faulty, and she did know already, that was out of line and involvement in a situation that wasn't her business. The only justification i'll offer for my own actions is as follows: i have very cogent reasons for never wanting to speak to the woman ever again. I do not wish her dead. I wish her her life - over there, away from me where i do not have to deal with her. And as an aside we are not dealing with youngsters here. Age wise, i'm not old but i will never see thirty again and she is eleven years older than i am.
All in all, a minor unpleasantry, like a turdling dropped with a splash into my martini in place of an olive.
the rest of my visit to the Celtic Fling was good if clouded abit.

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Monday, June 26th, 2006
4:38 pm - Celtic Fling, etc. - interlude
But wait, Artful; there's more. I'll deal with the encounter tomorrow.
I'll take this opportunity to address something from afew back.
The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte started about ten years ago with "The Skystone" and runs to eight current volumes; the last, "The Eagle" might be released in Britain, but as of the last time i checked, no release date is listed for the USA.
Yet another retelling of the Arthurian legends, the prose is contemporary, but good. And time was taken to tell the story completly by looking at the problem of "How do you survive the End of the World?"
Sometime around 370 to 400 AD, Rome withdrew the last legions from Britain to defend Rome itself. This left Britain, a province that had become domesticated for close to four centuries, open to invasion and plunder by Angles, Jutes and Saxons from the East, across the Channel; Irish Sea Raiders ( Scotti ) and the unconquered Welsh Tribes to the West; Picts from the North. Woefully unprepared to defend themselves, society crumbled pretty quickly devolving into individule territories ruled by warlords, all surrounded by the aforementioned groups.
The Skystone starts with this period and details the development of The Colony, the place that will eventually become Camulod ( Camelot ). None of the familiar names from Arturian legend show up yet, being at least another generation in the future. the main character is Publius Varrus, a retired Legionary who takes up the vocation of Blacksmith for the nascent Colony. In large part it is also the story of finding and working a different metal than just Iron. Aside that is from a truely bizarre account of the forging of Excalibur in the second volume.( the creation of a fifteenth century Longsword in Dark Ages Britain, and the construction particulary of the hilt bears *no* relationship to how *any* swordhilt is constructed. )
The rest of the books deal mainly with Merlin and Uther, cousins of the premiere families of the Colony. Merlin's voice provides most of the narration throughout. There are scenes of startling ugliness and disturbing brutality ( i'm thinking of the early part of the second volume, "The Singing Sword" in particular. )
The latest volume, "The Lance Thrower" introduces us to reworking of Lancelot, and is the first well known character ( aside from Merlin ) that is focused on from the characters viewpoint.
Overall, amoung the best retellings/reworkings of the tales of Arthur that i have ever read. Up there with the "Dragon Lord" by David Drake, "The Firelord" by Parke Goodwin and "Arthur Rex" by Thomas Berger.

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12:04 pm - Celtic Fling, etc. - Part II
Crystalsage, i did look for you, at Bob's Tarot booth. Didn't see you and assumed that you weren't there. I was not in garb; pair of shorts, a green Hawaiian Shirt ( with a Celtic Key pattern! ) and sports hiking sandals. Glad i went on Saturday though. I was at home and it was miserable on Sunday.
Anyway, i stopped in at the stand of some friendly aquaintences. Live Steel Fight Academy, owned/operated by Dave Dickey and his girlfriend Deb. It is a Western Martial Arts school; teaching the use of various and sundry weapons from Medieval/Renaissance Europe.
This was one of the first stops, so i got there pretty early in my time there. As i walked up i saw Barb.
An ex-girlfriend from about five years ago; not someone i really want to see. Before i go farther, i'll state for the record afew things: Despite my thoughts, feelings or non-feelings for this person, there is alot there that is worthwhile or admirable. The woman has seen, been and done things that i envy. She is intelligent ( a pre-requisite for me ) and uses language, both spoken and written with some finesse.
Also, i am not blameless in my life. I don't cut myself any slack, nor do i expect anyone else to. I am very aware of my shortcomings and where i could have done better; usually just after i've screwed the pooch or said something that didn't even wave at my brain on the way past.
With that out of the way, i will not go into detail. Barb has spread her version all over by this point and has long since stopped being politic. She has talked about our relationship ad nauseum for both of us to anyone who will listen. Needless to say, i recollect things differently. Truth is a three-edged sword; Your side, their side and whatever the Truth may happen to really be. Some friends, namely elionwyr and shadesong have heard my version. Still stings abit.

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7:38 am - Celtic Fling - encounter with Barb, Part I
Mood: Soggy...and sprouting Fungi ( from Yuggoth )!

Flippin' hell, the Monsoon season is here in force. It has rained with varying rates since sometime Saturday night. My house is on a hill and yet everytime it rains hard i get water in the basement. Possibly it's springs that riddle the bedrock between the major ridges. More likely it's just water hitting the uphill side of the foundation and running along it into the basement. Have to see about taking care of that.
Anyway, i went to the Celtic Fling on Saturday. Held on the grounds of the Pa. Ren Faire, it is a recent bid by the new owner to try to get some of the dollars from the Celtic Music/Scottish Games crowd. Actually though, they have enough clout or cash to get some pretty well known names - Brother, Clan na Drumna, Scythian, etc. Good stuff. Scythian seems to be a Gene-splice of Celtic Music and Marshall Tucker. I have to admit to a guilty liking of Southern Fried Rock, for all that i gripe about stereotypical rednecks.
More later....

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Wednesday, June 21st, 2006
6:37 am - Summer Solstice 2006 - Mom's ashes
The Eye of the Great God,
The Eye of the God of Glory,
The Eye of the King of Hosts,
The Eye of the King of Life,

Shining upon us through Time and Tide,
Shining upon us Gently and without Stint.

Glory be to Thee, O Sun,
Glory to Thee O Sun, Face of the God of Life.

- Ancient Celtic Hymn to the Sun


For the first time in a number of years there was clear sky ( some clouds on the East ) for Summer Solstice. Seems that everytime there is a Quarter Day, or some other interesting Astronomical event the weather will not cooperate. It's a conspiracy i'm sure.
Longest Day of the Year. The sun rises and sets the farthest North. The Zenith of the Year; also the start of the dark half moving towards Winter.
As should be somewhat obvious, i'm familiar with the cycle of the year. And not that i would usually lose track of this day of all days, but an event occured nine years ago in 1997 that guarantees that i will never forget.
The short story is that my mom died Saturday, June 21, 1997. She declined ( sharply ) for a year too long. She had spent her life to get a job that she loved and had it for maybe two years before she had to leave for health reasons. In short order, she had to give up being able to drive and her apartment. I can't even concieve of what it must have been like for her. For her, having a license and car, being able to drive pretty much symbolised her freedom and independence. During her marriage, she had been forbidden to learn how to drive or make any real choices. Yes i was present for this also as well as my sister. To answer the potential unasked question, i don't have a father. I don't know how my sister thinks about this.

I have carried mom's ashes for the past nine years. Not quite an Albatross, but not quite a holy relic either. Maybe there is someone out there that will get the gist or feeling of that.
When i moved from the city late last year i dumped alot of stuff that i did not want to carry into the new house. Stuff of pain and sorrow, reminders of failure, fine grit of despair, bottles of acidic hatreds. Moving from the "House that ate my Brain" was the best thing that i have done for the past fourteen years. Alot of the above disappeared soon as i left the threshold for the last time December 2.
But i carried mom's ashes. Couldn't bring myself to bring them into the house though. They stayed out in the trunk of the car.
Today the ashes will be scattered in a forest that mom liked to walk in. Chose this over the other spot ( a nearby lake ), because this seems to feel better.
I'm actually more okay with all of this than it may sound. Understand, i really wish my mom were still here. She was a truely kind person; much better than i am ever likely to be and i miss her dearly. I am aware that i will not see her again at least on this side of the line that divides.
But i can't feel that bad. Everything i had to say, i said over her empty body in the hospital emergency ward that Saturday n ine years ago. Every once in a great while, i dream of conversations with her. None have happened for sometime though, so maybe she's removed from this place.
All i want to know is this: what do you have to do to Check Out on any of the Quarter Days, let alone the Summer Solstice? The Door of the Sun opens and you just walk through........

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Monday, June 19th, 2006
12:26 pm - Saturday - Potomac Celtic Festival: Part II
Aside from that, i chatted with a couple other artists; talking shop and techniques for working various materials.
Good background music. I must confess, usually i'm somewhat indifferent to music at these events unless there's some specific group i want to hear, like Brother, the Wicked Tinkers or somesuch. One of the bands was local i think; Scythian? Not bad what i heard of it over conversations.
I also took the oportunity to court a SCA/reenactment group ( Clann Preachain ) for involvement in the Roman Days event next year. Their representatives said they were flattered that i would ask for their participation. A better showing of Ancient Celts would be welcome; usually it's just two other people and myself. I did try to let them know that this is *not* an SCA event and that there are/will be standards for minimal kit outfitting. Most stuff has to be documented from Archaeology. My personal position on this is that if you are doing this for pure fun ( SCA or Ren Faire for example ), it's all good and accuracy takes a backseat to partying ( Frat Party in Funny Clothing ).
As soon as you make the pretense to "educate the Public", it all changes. The Public by and large doesn't see the difference between any or all of the following: an SCA event, Ren Faire, Medieval Times dinner theatre or a Historical reenactment. To them it's pretty much the same: People in odd clothing doing odd stuff.
So steps need to be taken to make a difference. It doesn't matter if they are really interested in what you are saying. They deserve the best, most accurate answers to their questions that you can give them. This means *not* parroting something you read twenty years ago, or off the internet. It means keeping up with Archaeological reports, doing real research in libraries and Museums, always learning, new info and new skills.
Also, as an aside, Skippy the Wonder Druid stalked past and glared in my general direction.

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7:55 am - Saturday - Potomac Celtic Festival
Fog again this morning on the way to the Gym. Just the valley floor on the left covered; the Western end of the road into town had a few streamers crossing it.
Saturday, i went to the Celtic Festival in Leesburg, Va. Normally i wouldn't go this distance except to visit friends ( as i did last year ). Last year i made the aquaintance of a pair of talented artists: Elantu Ghostraven and Harry Mallet. Harry is a photographer who seems to specialise in Nature Photography. I have more in common with Elantu who is an accomplished painter/illustrator. Her Celtic Warrior series of prints is excellent! I was supposed to sit for a quick study ( so i could be slipped into what was her new project last year ) and i hoped to do that this year. I am just vain enough to be flattered by this.
So i headed South. Checking the Festival website, i at first didn't see Elantu listed. Ditz that i can be, i looked under "E" instead of "G" for Ghostraven, Inc. So i thought they wouldn't be there. Checked again and they *were* listed.
Imagine my disappointment when i got there and they were not vending. Turns out they have moved from Colorado to Texas because Harry got a good job. That and the fact that Elantu has a number of health problems ( now being taken better care of cause there's cash to throw at the problems ). Also, both of them are up there, over 60 and travel wears thin.
I went because of this. Enjoy them while they are here, because all of use have a limited egagement on Stage. Some shorter than others.
But it was not a wasted trip. Caught up with several friendly aquaintences ( sadly no friends were there ), picked up two javelin points from a smith i met during my first ever trip to the Pa. Ren Faire about twenty years ago.
Abit more later.

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Thursday, June 15th, 2006
7:21 am - Fog
Since moving to my new home in early December of last year, i have seen more heavy fog than in fourteen years of living in the city. I leave home three mornings a week very early ( 4:15 AM ) to go to the gym, so i'm on my way well before dawn.
Most mornings there is fog or at least mist - coming off the roadway, any pond or stream, filling any depression in the landscape. The valley that the town i live in is high enough in elevation to have a noticable temperature difference between day and night. The mist sets in after midnight.
Earlier this week, i head out of the valley under the setting moon. Just after Full, i've noticed that the moon was more brilliant than i seem to recall. As we are heading toward the Summer Soltice ( next Wednesday ), maybe the relative positions of the Sun, Moon and Earth have something to do with this. Anyway, the moon hit the fog blanketing the valley floor off to my left. The road is a little higher up so i could look out over a glowing sheet, almost soft neon blue. When i got a bit farther south and overlooked the major valley and opposing ridge, i was on an island surrounded by a sea of fog. Pretty cool.
A few years ago, i passed by a farm pond at night, also under a bright Moon. During the day the pond is a small, nearly circular pest pit; foul with scum and weed. A perfect habitat for soft crawling things and probably not attractive at all to most people.
Everything changes under Moonlight, whether it's illusion or not. This pond had a vortex of thick mist spiralling out of it and rising like a Djinn. Hit by the Moon, it ignited with cold fire. There may actually have been some light from swamp gas also. Incredible. Wish i had a camera with light sensitive film and a timelapse speed, cause i've heard that to capture this stuff you need a long exposure.

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Tuesday, June 13th, 2006
7:46 am - Cloudscapes
My first entry. Just a few observations to start with.
lately, over the past few weeks or so i've noticed that the sky where i live has been very active. The sunsets and the cloudscapes have been spectacular. Most of the latter seem to be due to the thunderstorms funneled up the valley from the nearest major river valley to the Southwest ( most of which have missed the area i live in ).
Incredible views! Many separate Cummulonimbus, anvil shaped thunderheads, rank on rank like the columns of some titanic temple, backlit by the sun. The light polarised into almost laser distinct beams touching fire to each other cloud they hit. Like looking into either a furnace or the door to Heaven.
I swear the views have looked like some of the 19th century romantic paintings i've seen. That, or the paintings of Michael Whelan or Stephen Hickman.

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