10/27/2011 Magic Week

Because I’m writing this on Thursday, (a day late by my usual schedule), we are having our first snow of the season. Big fat flakes coming down on a lot of deciduous trees that still have too many leaves to take the weight if we get much accumulation. At this point our backdrop is a gold and black (the bark) world, really gorgeous, and the snow looks a bit out of place against it. When the sun is on the leaves, it is brilliant, especially when the sky shows blue above it.

Last Thursday morning, the girls headed up to Bakuretsu Con, a small anime con in the Burlington Vermont area. Many cons start a day early, but I got disoriented. About six o’clock I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to be at Celebrate Samhain at 8 or 8:30 on Saturday morning, and thinking that if the girls headed out to their con that morning, it must be Friday, and Jon and I dashed out and loaded the van in the twilight. Then I came in and realized that I still had a day.

Celebrate Samhain and BakuretsuCon were the same weekend last year too, and Honour had come to help me sell. (Luckily, both years I was not on the speakers schedule as I have been in the past so often.) I’d called to remind her on Wednesday, but been distracted because she was preparing for a colonoscopy the next day. Luckily, it’s an outpatient procedure, so I figured she’d be back pretty soon. Sadly, I spent most of Friday calling her and getting increasingly concerned when I couldn’t get in touch. It turned out that she was able to stay in an overnight facility at the VA, and had done so, making the whole thing more convenient for her, but I didn’t know that at the time. By Friday night I was pretty concerned, and her sister and I arranged that whoever got in touch with her first would have her call the other to calm us down.
But at seven on Saturday, she called- she’d kept track of when the event was, and was ready to go. (Her procedure had gone well, and she’d just gone home and slept through all my calls.) So she was with me at Celebrate Samhain. We could only get 2 tables there, but luckily, they were both 8 foot tables, and I managed to cram just about everything on them. The high point of the day was a gentleman coming by who wanted to carry my sculptures in his store. I have his card and need to get in touch with him, but that’s cool. Honour is much more eager a salesperson than I am, because she would look at a customer and point out which of our goods seemed the best fit for them, I was able to spend most of the day taping pockets onto the flyers for Changing Times-Changing Worlds. We’d already distributed all of the posters without pockets- these each have pockets into which we put a dozen or so business cards with the website. I still figure that once anyone who has any interest in the esoteric sees what we’re offering on the website, they’ll want to come. We passed out more of those as well, although we are friends with about half of the vendors there from other shows, and they’d already taken posters from Pagan Pride Days or other times I asked them to help. The other thing I did was run credit cards on the imprinter, because Honour didn’t want to deal with those. Willow had her android, with it’s attachment for running credit cards up at BakuretsuCon, so even though the bank asked me recently if we wanted to cancel our old account through them, we still keep the imprinter for the weekends we split up. The event finished up about 6, and once again I discovered how wonderful it is with all three of us packing at once, it took me almost an hour to pack up, if, thankfully, only a half hour to drive home.

Sunday Steve came up- he said for brownies. His birthday was while I was at Twilight Covening, so I didn’t get a chance to make him a cake. I did make a roast chicken- I figure it’s not something a bachelor gets much. He’s also fun because he likes eating the giblets when I’ve made stock for the gravy, and licking the beater when I bake. It’s more fun to cook with an audience. We relaxed, watched a movie, I cooked, and when nothing else was going on worked on cleaning the kitchen- somehow I don’t much notice the mess until someone comes in. Honour came over for dinner too. About the time they were leaving, the girls got home- pretty much too tired to eat (except stuffing and gravy).

Monday I went back to working on the Con- trying to get the last posters out- should we update to take off the “pre-reg” price? I’m working on the schedule- I hoped to have that done by the end of September, so I could spend October working on advertising and the program booklet. But no, not only am I not done with it, I keep hearing from people who I’ve lost track of who should be on the schedule. I was fiddling with it yesterday as well, which is why I didn’t get to writing the letter.

Tuesday was not a good day- although the weather was gorgeous, and that’s a plus. I kept remembering that line from Young Frankenstein “Could be worse… Could be raining”. Thank goodness it wasn’t. The day started with the internet going away. It turned out that while I have our phone/internet bill paid automatically, there was something I was supposed to go to the website and authorize to keep it going and I hadn’t. They had sent me announcements, but in the deluge of ads they send on a regular basis advertising various packages of services and such, it had all ended up in my spam folder. As I recall, one of the first things spam filters look for is something that is being sent to a lot of people at once- like ads. “Yah Think?!” So we got that straightened out, and Willow decided to put the weekend’s earnings into the bank. Sadly, her car was overheating and rather than going to the garage, she decided to just come straight home. She didn’t get far and had to call me. I was on the phone with the phone company (as they tried to sell me new services, and get off their “mailing lists” so that maybe I’ll notice the occasional important notice next time), but luckily one of the things thrown in in some package I took because it was cheaper, call waiting was included, and she got through. Willow’s AAA card was expired, but when I called to check, we were fine, although the poor idiots we talked to couldn’t seem to find the road she was on. I’d left my cell phone on, and it was dead, so Kat came along to use hers- and when we headed out, I discovered that the tank that was reading “low” on the way home from Peterboro was reading below empty as I headed out. Luckily, we did make it to the closest gas station, but it just seemed like one of those days. I guess it was one of those days for NEAR disasters, not real ones. I found Willow, and we got her car dropped at Winkles. Poor Gary LaPlant (“Mr. Winkle”) had had a worse day, so reminding ourselves that it was not even raining, we went back home.
On the way we picked up some milk and a couple of freaking HUGE pumpkins, because Willow was having a craving for roasted pumpkin seeds. We still haven’t had the energy to perform pumpkin lobotomies yet, but we have a few days. I did a final clearing up of the garden area. We still have the occasional morning glory blossom, although the leaves are dying off the vines. The easter lily I’d been planning to put into the garden since the blossoms stopped (in April?), has surprised us with a new stalk, so we brought that inside. I have no idea how long that’s going to last. I advanced our pocket calendar- it doesn’t go quite up to Birka, but we’ve got all of the Yule holidays in the next couple months, and that’s a bit nervous-making.
Yesterday I went to put something away in the pantry and got diverted because there was a drip under a bottle, so I took the nearby bottles out, then I took the rest of them out, and I got help from Kat, and it STILL took several hours to take everything out of one shelf, throw away everything that was too old, wash the jars to recycle them, and put everything back- on ONE shelf. I have a feeling that I should be able to do one shelf a day, and we’ll get rid of a lot of old food that would never otherwise be eaten, and is just taking up room and making a mess. It’s a lovely theory. I would SO like to have a house where everything is where it is supposed to be and kept clean and orderly.
The problem with that is that houses with as much stuff as we have these days used to have servants. The servants may have also kept their stuff clean and orderly, but they didn’t have as much of it. Modern people just expect to have too much STUFF. I have an amazing library (which I DO use for research, as well as occasional pleasure reading), and a ridiculously large and wonderful movie collection. I have way too many clothes. There’s a reason I have too many clothes. As I was getting ready to go out on Saturday I noticed a slight discoloration on the blouse I wanted to wear. I asked Honour, and she confirmed that it was a stain, and shouldn’t be worn in public. It’s a perfectly good blouse, warm and comfortable. I’d say I have a dozen in that category- but because most of them have some small stain, hardly noticeable, but if it were noticed, I would be labeled as someone who was slovenly, probably lazy and stupid, definitely not successful or worthy of respect, I can’t wear them in public. I have lots of clothes that are great for wearing to work or play, but not for impressing people. Sadly, as a speaker, you have to put forward a credible appearance. I have a bad tendency to drop food on my chest, and that’s a noticeable place on me. Sigh.
Another thought I had this week was also about clothing- here in New England we learn the importance of not getting cold. It’s far more efficient than warming up again when you get cold, and isn’t that a good analogy for most of life? Don’t let a problem get to a point where it MUST be dealt with as a safety or comfort issue? People from the south seem to let themselves get cold- they don’t seem to know about hats, or keeping dry, or keeping extremities warm. Willow’s big selling item is lap blankets to wear while on the computer. Also big these days are fingerless gloves for wearing at the computer (I’m wearing some as I write). Cold is one thing you don’t want to get ahead of you, but lots of other things are much easier to handle when they are hardly noticeable. But dealing with all those little things is like spinning plates. If you have too many, they’ll still get beyond your ability to handle.

I’ve gone back to reading the articles in the Anthropology of Religion textbooks as “light” non-fiction reading before bed. In fiction, I wasted a few evenings reading something called Mist of Prophesy, that was recommended since I am fond of the Falco and Libertas detective series set in “Ancient Rome”. I also like the Medicus series (and was really annoyed when they put the same book out with a different title, so I ended up with two copies of the same book- what I first read as Medicus is also out under the name Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls). Apparently Steven Saylor has a series the hero of which is Gordianus the Finder, and Mist of Prophesy is one of them. It reminded me that setting and genre aren’t enough. The writing has to be good, or perhaps to your taste. There’s nothing like walking through the dealers room at a science fiction convention to have it made abundantly clear that not all science fiction is for all science fiction fans. The things that appeal about Falco and Libertas are different, but this one appealed to me not at all.
This week I also watched a couple romantic comedies, Nurse Betty- somewhat predictable, fun, but not really special- although I was impressed at how Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock could make a couple of hit men seem human, even occasionally appealing. Ghost Town, the story of a ghost trying to help his widow cope was absolutely charming. I disagree with the premise that ghosts are not held here by unfinished business, but by people who won’t let them go because they have unfinished business with the dead people. The movie as a bit hard to start because apparently the widow in it was attracted to jerks. Her husband who died was a jerk, the man she ended up with started out as a jerk (although the story was mostly about his, and to a certain extent, the dead husband learning the importance of being kind), even her boyfriend was, if not a jerk, a pompous ass. That made it a bit hard to take at the beginning. Still, I recommend it.
I saw the old (1935) Last Days of Pompeii, about which mostly I remember such a very young Basil Rathbone as Pontus Pilate. I think they said right up front that it was not based on the book of the same name, but it was still a good story with lots of gladiators and turns of heart and the best special effects one could have in the 30s- which meant hundreds of extras and huge, impressive sets (falling down in the last scene). Given the current political climate, I couldn’t help notice that the young blacksmith who said he had no need for money found out what money was for when his wife needed a doctor. Then as now, when the poor get sick, they die, and tough luck on them. I saw a cartoon where a man was complaining about “Obamacare” and admitted that he liked all the good things that it did, but when challenged, what do you dislike about it, said “Obama”. I think that disingenuous, what he disliked was having to pay for all the good things that were being done for – not him. I do enjoy watching old movies.
I, Monster (one of John’s picks) which is from `71. Basically, it was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with different names. It’s closer to Stevenson’s story than any other Jekyll and Hyde movie I’ve seen, disregarding the names. I also watched John Carpenter’s Vampires (`98) which was funny, in a sarcastic modern way, and the Last Legion, with a very scruffy looking Colin Firth, at the tale end of the Roman empire- in a bizarre story connecting historic story of the last Italian Caesar with the Arthurian mythos. Ben Kingsley as the Merlin character was pretty cool, but WHY must they always insert a woman martial artist these days? The Lady in the Water was a bed-time story that the producer used to tell his kids and he got it made into a movie. I did like the bit where the film critic who’d been explaining how everything worked got caught by the monsters because he was not able to predict how everything worked, but other than that it was not a good film.

I’d like to come up with something more fascinating to share, but I really have to get back to the schedule for the con. Next week, maybe I’ll be more fascinating (or having a nervous breakdown).

Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.
Limony Snicket

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