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NaBloWriMo

I like to write, but I have difficulty motivating myself to do so at times. So while I have no overwhelming urge to write a novel at this time, I'm taking advantage of all my other friends' positive writing energy to get back in the habit of blogging again. I'm gonna try to post every day, although not every post will be Public, so be sure to login and friend me if you want to see them all.

I frequently have dreams while sleeping on the train, and some of them are dreams of me sitting on the train. Now the worst ones are ones where I'm dreaming I'm going the other way, which is always just rude of my subconscious, but this morning I dreamt I was sitting next to the Royal Chiropractor on the train. When the train pulled into the station, I pulled my gloves off and there was another pair of gloves underneath them. "I guess I'm still dreaming", I said, and then I woke up.

I used to be a lucid dreamer. I got out of the habit in college because, well, sleeping for pleasure becomes less of a thing when there are friends and classes and games and parties and and and...I'd like to see if I can get back in the habit now.
St. Basil's

Invisibilia

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Invisibilia (Latin for invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510307/invisibilia
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O Canada

I've been trying to get to a Canadian Crown Tournament for years. Every six months, the Kingdom of the East holds a Crown Tournament to determine the Heirs to the Throne. Then five months later, those Heirs are Crowned and a new Crown Tournament needs to be held. The tournament travels through each region of the Kingdom in turn. I've been to every Fall Crown Tournament since joining the SCA in 2006, but the Spring Crown Tournaments happen at the ends of the Kingdom, and I live in the middle. I've been to two Southern Crown Tournaments now, but Tir Mara has remained elusive. 2010 was a week before my wedding. 2012 was in Nova Scotia and both money and PTO were extremely tight. We almost made it in 2014, but we were already running a local event that day. Finally, on the last day of the 50th year of the SCA, I made it to Crown Tournament in Canada, and it was glorious.

Crown Tournament is one of my favorite events, and not just because I'm working to make it happen. Or, more precisely, it's because so many people are working to make it happen. The combatants and their consorts process into Court and are presented before the Crown. The shield heralds raise the combatants' heraldry for all to see. The field heralds announce each bout to great acclaim. The marshals work hard to keep the excitement and pressure from going to the combatants' heads. The list runners bring the results back to the Ministry of Lists, and we ministers move names on paper to figure out who's fighting who next. And the whole time, the Order of the Rose calls attention to great acts of chivalry (while also making sure to catch the winner's inspiration in case they faint).

We drove North to Montreal Friday night, having had a small snafu with the car, but otherwise proceeding apace. We got to Chateau de Robin around midnight and had a good time chatting, stretching, and decompressing until around 1:30.

Saturday, the weather was damn near perfect: sunny but not too hot, too windy, or too stifling. During the tournament itself, everything worked like clockwork. There were a few injuries and a few hotheads, but the marshals arranged for the occasional pause in the action to give the combatants a chance to cool down. And the winner? Duke Brion Anthony Uriel Tarragon -- Knight, Laurel, and Pelican -- fighting for his wife, Duchess Anna Ophelia Holloway Tarragon -- Laurel, Pelican, Lion of Atenveldt, and Tyger of the East -- AKA two really big deal people in their 50s. Brion took all comers with courtesy, chivalry, grace, and a great deal of serenity.

We left the event only to drive immediately back. A group of local folks had lost a critical engine belt and we gave one a ride back to the event to try and get some help. We had dinner at a local restaurant with a lovely house wine and delicious poutine.

Sunday, we had a nice leisurely breakfast where Jeanne put up with my deliberate mispronunciations of french, packed the car, went shopping for wine, and then slowly made our way home.
hopeless causes

Scheduling

For a year and a half, I tried to keep my schedule posted here. It was a dumb move. For starters, Livejournal just ain't the format for keeping track of calendar events. It was nice seeing everything laid out in a list, but that was about all it was good for. It didn't make for interesting reading, it failed as a writing prompt, but -- worst of all -- it raised the minimum hurdle for getting a post out there. So I've now made the effort to formally move everything to gcal.

However, one thing that LJ is great for is open-ended discussion, so I have ideas for a couple of events I'd like to spitball a bit:

1. Caper Night
Crime happens; hilarity ensues. I want to host a party where we watch a bunch of crime procedural films and marvel at how awesome they are. Over the years, I've developed quite the collection, some of which are rather obscure. Dinner will of course be deviled eggs, mescalin greens, and chicken piccata. This is closest to happening given that all I really need is a free weekend.

2. Casino Royale
A more ambitious sort of theme party, I want to host a tribute to spy movies. James Bond Marathon in the TV room. Roulette, Craps, Baccarat, and Texas Hold 'Em in the Great Room. Costume Contests, Assassin Games, and Beluga Caviar. I have a team of interested parties, I just need the money to make it happen.

3. Whiskey Party, AKA the cigar-smoke-filled backroom
I'd like to start holding a regular meeting of like-minded individuals who want to intellectually and then practically work towards solving the big issues of the day. The last time I tried to organize this, I only got 2 responses. Some of the principals from when this gathering was originally proposed are no longer talking to each other. This will probably never happen, and it makes me sad. Actually smoking cigars was never part of the plan. I do still like the idea of sipping whiskey at it, but that's not compatible with the biology of all the principals.

4. Grilling and Games, Miami 2017 Edition
I had a 4th of July party running for several years that was pretty awesome, designed around the idea of having fun on 7/4 even when it is a weekday. 2017 begins a new 3-year series of 7/4 on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and we will begin by having the lights go down on Broadway.

5. The Battle of Five Armies
I play in the SCA with the Shire of Quintavia, which has the dubious honor of bordering on six other local groups, all Baronies. It is extremely rare for Quintavia to hold an event where none of its direct neighbors are holding competing events, let alone other groups in the region. I want to run a big outdoor camping event whose premise is to get several of our neighbors to commit to coming and fighting each other. We do the work, we collect the money, they get the prize, everybody has a good time. There will be War Points and Great Court and a White Elephant.
southpark

Gah!

I'm not really sure why, but the urge to write is failing to coalesce. So here's what sense I can make of my current calendar. I'm worried I'm missing some things, but that's life.

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camelot

Pan-Fried Peapods

Since I have overheard multiple people exclaim how good these were last night:

1 pound snow peas
1 onion
1/4 cup scallions
1/4 cup parsley
garlic to taste
vegetable oil
sesame oil
sesame seeds
soy sauce

Wash and clean all vegetables. Chop the other vegetables but leave the snow peas whole. In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the snow peas. Note that sesame oil has a low smoke point and should be added later. If you add it now, it could scorch or start a fire.

Since all of these vegetables are perfectly edible raw (with the possible exception of the garlic), the frying is mostly about adding and mixing flavors. After the snow peas have started to soften, add the other vegetables and continue frying until the onions have started to turn clear. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook for another minute.

Ideally you have started with just enough oil to fry all the vegetables but that when you add the soy sauce, the water cooks off a little and it turns into a glaze.
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Plus ca change...

I have many posts brewing inside me, but I am stuck at work loading a build when I should be running my RPG. Would anyone be interested in Sense8 Til You Bleed on 6/6? It's a new series on Netflix by JMS and the Wachowskis. It looks pretty cool.

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St. Basil's

Three Logicians walk into a bar...

There's a logic puzzle that's been going around that has a bunch of my friends stumped. I don't know if it's really from a primary school assignment in Singapore (the syntax certainly reflects Singapore's mixed heritage), but I solved more complicated logic puzzles all the time in elementary school, so maybe.

Albert and Bernard just become friends with Cheryl, and they want to know when her birthday is. Cheryl gives them a list of 10 possible dates.

May 15, May 16, May 19, June 17, June 18, July 14, July 16, August 14, August 15, August 17

Cheryl then tells Albert and Bernard separately the month and the day of her birthday respectively.

Albert: I don't know when Cheryl's birthday is, but I know that Bernard does not know too.

Bernard: At first I don't know when Cheryl's birthday is, but I know now.

Albert: Then I also know when Cheryl's birthday is.

So when is Cheryl's birthday?

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