4/13/11 Library Week

Today it’s rainy and kind of chilly, but the last few days it’s been practically summery. This is not to say that the other night when we were in just a slightly higher elevation, we didn’t see a pond still frozen over, but at our level, I can’t find snow anymore. It’s gone from our yard and gardens- time to rake away all the leaves and expose the burgeoning new growth.

Last week I headed down to Mithracon on Thursday. Mithracon is an exceptionally small conference focused on Mithraic studies. http://www.mithracon.org/wp/  I think before I got involved it was bigger, and there were more people who did or do Roman Reenacting. I only started going a few years ago. As I understand it, there was a tradition to go to a steak house one evening (and recreate the Tauroctony- or the sacred myth of Mithras killing a bull- by plunging a knife into a roast beef at the restaurant. As a cheapskate I’ve encouraged, instead, having a potluck with “Roman food”- grapes, olives, stuffed grape leaves, feta, chickpeas and millet, Posca (a soft drink based on watered wine), and pastries. The main course is a roast hen from the supermarket. The other night the tradition is for  people meet Friday night at the Istambul- a Greek restaurant with belly dancing. Sadly, the music was cranked up so loud I spent the whole show with my fingers in my ears. If we hadn’t carpooled from the hotel in my van, I’d have gone back with the ones who left at that point. Ouch! I can’t understand how people can stand the music that loud. Turns out that Jane was also listening through her fingers, so we may find another restaurant next time.
Saturday is spent happily using the library facilities at Yale to pursue our personal research preferences. Perhaps this is why it’s not a huge conference. I understand that in the old days Sunday was spent visiting an actual Mithraeum which was brought over here and reconstructed in the basement of the Yale Museum. Sadly, about the time I started coming, they closed it for repairs, and this year we heard that they’d shipped it up to Harvard! Well, phooey! We did talk a bit about Mithraic stuff. What I was most impressed with was that Quintius’ legionnaire group has been in a couple of the History Channel shows. Now I’ve got to go back and look at Engineering an Empire again, and try to spot him.
Sunday afternoon we went back to Jane’s house and worked out a plan for the cover of Jane’s next book- on Norwegian Folk Medicine. I’d come down on Thursday and accompanied her to the adult education class she teaches- she took along the previous cover paintings and I was her “guest celebrity”. I may have served one good turn- the class was on painting with acrylics, and I tried to use them again, and once again discovered that I don’t do well with acrylics- they don’t blend the way oils do, and I’d probably need more practice than I care to put into them that I’ll ever take. So maybe the students who were so impressed with my work felt better when they saw that I wasn’t able to do everything well. Sunday evening another friend of Jane’s came over. She’s writing a novel about viking romance and adventure, and wants me to do her cover.
Monday I came home, and frankly just zoned out (catching up on my email, and mail). Tuesday I also went to bed early and woke up late. I hope I’ve caught up now. Today I got back into the swing of things and started updating the CTCW website (with a lot of help from Josh).

Aside from making blankets, Willow has been transferring her archives of Stupidity in Magic to comic press – a different server (I think) than she had it on. This allows her to go back and make the writing more legible, correct spelling and angst about how much better she’s gotten since she started it. Part of her wants to redraw many old pictures that are bad enough to make her cringe, and yet she knows that improvement is to be expected. Frankly I find it difficult to look at old art (or writing, or costumes) and not wish I could do it over. It’s natural to get better.
She says she’s working on anything that will make money. One thing she’s made is real world “emoticons”. You know the little faces with stereotyped emotions that you can plug into your writing to indicate mood? She’s painted a bunch of smooth stones pastel colors and drawn those “emoticons” on them and will be selling them at impulse purchase prices.
Another thing she tried was to make a “Rainbow Unicorn”. Sh found this really great toy unicorn, and spray painted it with chrome paint- but even though the can said it was intended for plastic, it never stopped being tacky to the touch. The toy is soft, so I theorize it was made with that plastic they got so crazy about a few years ago, they put something in it to make it soft so it’s good for baby toys. This is soft- so maybe they also put something in the plastic to make it resistant to getting painted or drawn on. It’s a theory. Anyway, while I was vegging I helped clean off the various layers of paint she’d put on- and never got dry.

Kat has been working on a sweet Lena Inverse costume. This is the second costume she’s made (the other was Blind Mag from Repo Man) without help from anyone else. The way I look at it is that Willow and I helped her until she got the confidence to work on her own, and now, in many ways, she is beginning to surpass us. I think it is because she is such a stickler for detail. But it may just be “her thing”. She’s also really good at drawing pin-ups.

While I was at Janes I helped her organize her DVD collection, and she loaned me several seasons of the A Team, McGyver and several other movies she had that I’d probably like. I watched some of the A team whil I was too brain dead to do much else. It’s amusing in a very eighties way. But not much else. Of course I listened to my Origins of early civilizations course on the long drive. Actually, I think I’m getting a little tired of the ancient history, and want to get back to the modern world.
I’ve been reading Thomas Burnett Swann books- I found some that I hadn’t read way back when I first discovered them. Staying at Jane’s house is very dangerous for me- I wrote down a list of about a dozen books that were in the guest bedroom that I’d like to read. But right now I’m trying to get my library piles under control. I started getting out of control when I discovered I could get a lot of the books that are the supportive reading to the audio courses through the library website and interlibrary loan. So I ordered those. Then I found I could also borrow Teaching Company audio courses- and didn’t realize how quickly they’d be available, and got several at once. And I kind of went crazy with the old movies and documentaries. Right now I have 11 “DVDs” out, as well as 13 books (although in my defense, seven are not mine, John borrows on the same card). And I’ve got eight things being held for me at the library, that I have to pick up. They’ll only hold them for a week, and since they email me whenever something I’ve sent for comes in, I’d started going over to pick things up. The problem was, I’d be checking things out not just on Thursday (errand day) but all week long! So they’d be due, and I’d be going out more than once a week (and picking something else up). So this week I’ve held out and not picked things up trying to get it back down to a sane level. It’s been hard.
That’s about it. It’s been so warm that John brought the screen door up and hung it. The cats (and we) will have to get used to it opening from the other side of the door frame.  I am still pretty tired, and if we did anything else, I can’t remember it, so that’s it for this week.
Tchipakkan
Love divided is like the loaves of bread in the Christian parable. Give them to those in need, and then they multiply.

in The Gods Abide. Thomas Burnett Swann

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