Now is the winner of my dish content

Last December I decided to take a yoga class, just to see what it was like, and because I never had, and because, well, I’m supposed to be this expert on South Asia who lived in India and reads Sanskrit and understands Indian religions.  But I had never done yoga.  For Christmas I received a two week pass from my lovely wife, all the classes you can take.  Those of you who know me personally know that I took it as a matter of fact that I would therefore have to take as many classes as humanly possible in the 14 days (twelve days, because Christmas and New Years the studio was closed) I had the pass.

My first class was interesting at first, a HOT sequence class that had me sweating within five minutes, out of breath in 10 and wondering why I thought I needed to do yoga within 15.  But the teacher was awesome, and she kept talking about it being my practice, about focusing on where I was now, not on where my neighbor was, or where I thought I should be.  She told me to breathe.  She told me to find my edge.  Most of all, she talked me through each pose with very specific cues and instructions.  I do like good instructions.  By the end of the class I was worn out, out of breath, dripping with sweat, and completely, totally, and (I hope) irreversibly, hooked.

I went more than a dozen times in those two weeks, and became a member of the studio.  I began to go seven to nine times a week and quickly saw the benefits.  I went into the army at 71 inches and retired in 2008 at 70 inches.  The army (and aging) puts a lot of pressure on your spine, and I had gotten shorter over the years.  I am now 71 inches again.  I am taller, lighter, happier, more flexible and more calm than I have been in 20 years.  Yoga is changing my life in subtle ways that I will talk about in upcoming posts.  This month, I began training to be a yoga teacher.  Not as a career change, but as a way to deepen my practice of Yoga.

Recently, I’ve been eating fruit or protein bars for breakfast, eating lighter lunches and making healthy decisions about my diet, my lifestyle, and my physical and mental wellbeing.

Tonight, I’m having pizza.  Supreme deep dish pizza from a favorite delivery service.  It will cost me more yoga this weekend and lean breakfasts for several days, but as I said, I am also making better decisions about m y mental well-being.  The pizza just arrived as I typed this last sentence.  I am going to go enjoy it.  NOW.  I will be content.

Posted in Life, The Multiverse, Everything Tagged with: , , , ,

8. Paint

So for those of you who are still following along…I am putting finishing touches on the book, though I’m considering splitting it into two parts since I’m at 99,000 words and still haven’t finished.  I have about five chapters left to write for a current target of 42 chapters (or so).    Here is chapter eight…


“What are we going to do?” Kelly asked excitedly.

Grey was breathing deeply with his eyes closed.  “Give me a minute,” he said quietly, “I’m trying to think.”

“Okay, but while you are thinking, the snow is starting to melt all over the carpet,” Kelly replied.  “How many of those spare carpet squares do you have?”

“Not enough,” Grey said, opening his eyes and moving through the snow towards the spot where the nexus portal had been.  “Help me,” he said, “We’ve got to get this snow back through the portal before it all melts and floods the office.”  He reached out and felt for the edges of the portal nexus, saw a vague shimmering vertical line in front of him and pulled it to one side.  Instantly, a cold wind began to roar through the opening into the office, driving with it a cascade of cold wet, white snow.   Grey stepped towards the opening.

“What are you doing?” Kelly shouted over the wind.

“We need tools!” Grey responded, stepping into Thraveon and conjuring three broad flat snow shovels.  “We already know that objects cross over to earth without disappearing.  Let’s try to get the snow back through the portal.”

Each of them grabbed a shovel and began to throw snow through the opening, but for every shovelful they threw, it seemed like two more came back at them in the wind.  Stonefist bent his back harder to the task, furiously throwing shovelfuls of snow at a blinding pace.  Grey struggled to keep up with him as did Kelly, but after several minutes of steady shoveling the room was deeper than when they had started.

“It’s no use!” Grey said resignedly.  “We can’t beat the wind!  We have to think of something else.”  Kelly stopped shoveling and put her hand on Grey’s shoulder for support.  They were both overheating and out of breath.

Stonefist leaned on his shovel, panting heavily, trying to catch his breath while sweat poured from his brow.   “We need,” he said, out of breath, “a dragon.”  He puffed air through his cheeks between words.  “One of those…fire breathing types…from Ered Glemor.”

Grey looked over at Stonefist and his eyes widened.  Kelly turned her head in time to catch the consideration Grey was giving Stonefist’s suggestion.

“Grey, NO!” Kelly shouted over the wind.  “You can’t bring a dragon here!”

“Of course not,” he replied.  “I wouldn’t.  In fact, I don’t even know if I could,” he replied.  “But Stonefist has given me an idea.”

After grabbing their shovels and throwing them back through the portal, Grey reached up and pulled the ley lines tightly together, sealing off the nexus from earth.

“Yeah, that’s what I did,” Stonefist said, “but that’s not gonna make this snow disappear.”

“He’s right Grey,” Kelly said, “We have to find a way to get this snow out of here, and closing the portal isn’t going to do it. “

“Trust me,” Grey said, turning his head slightly from left to right as if trying to catch a certain angle of light with his eye.

“What are you doin lad?” Stonefist asked.  “Trying to will the snow away?”  Stonefist stood slightly bent over with his hands on his knees, still catching his breath.

“Something like that,” Grey said, staring intently at something in the air in front of him, and reaching his right hand and forefinger delicately upwards as if about to pluck a tiny berry from a tree.    “When you mentioned Ered Glemor, my first instinctive mental response was, that’s not possible, these ley lines are clearly emanating from South of the Mawdor Highlands.  They are pale white and the size of button thread.”

“So?” Stonefist asked. “Who cares where they came from?”

“Their creator cares,” Grey responded, continuing to stare at the air in front of him.  “I designed a very specific pattern of ley line colors, types and sizes so that spell casters would have a special geographic reference aid that would not be available to others in their party.  By examining the ley lines closely, a spell caster can learn to tell where in Thraveon she is.   I really just created the whole thing as artistic detail to add to the gameplay experience for some of my more retentive players.  But now I’m glad I did.”

“You’ll have to forgive him Miss Kelly,” Stonefist said, “he sometimes thinks he’s god.”

“In the last few minutes, I’ve kind of begun to wonder about that myself,” she replied, “but I don’t understand what colored lines…”

“Lay lines,” Stonefist corrected.

“Ley lines, with an ‘e’,” Grey corrected still looking intently before him.  He appeared to be picking at invisible threads in the air.

“Fine.  I don’t understand what LEY lines have to do with anything.”

Grey responded without looking up from his task.  “When we came back from fighting the Uruk, when Stonefist came through the portal, we were in a completely different part of Thraveon.  It’s clear that I’ve lost mental control of the nexus portal, it changed without my willing it to.  But if I concentrate hard enough I can apparently see the ley lines even though we are here on Earth.  Technically, that’s impossible since the ley lines aren’t real.  Then again,” he tilted his heads towards Stonefist without looking, but didn’t finish the thought.

“Don’t say it,” Stonefist said.

“I wasn’t going to, old friend.”  Grey squinted as he peered more closely at the lines before him.  “You were able to see and manipulate the ley lines when the portal was open, which you should not have been able to do since I never gave you any magic skill.”

“What?” Stonefist asked , feigning injury.  “I’ve got no magic skill at all?  And here I thought we were such good friends.”

“We are good friends,” Grey replied, “I probably have none better in all of Thraveon, but magic just wasn’t in your storyline.  I wish I could explain how you manipulated the ley lines, it might help me understand everything that is going wrong, but figuring that out may have to wait.”

Grey reached forward quickly.  “Ahah!”  he exclaimed.  His thumb and forefinger closed on something miniscule and he began to gently coax the ley line to the right.  A pale vertical line of dim yellow light began to appear in the air in front of Grey.

“It occurred to me that I normally enter Thraveon at whatever place I choose from wherever I am on Earth, which means that the portal should go everywhere.”

“Which means all the ley lines from everywhere on Thraveon must pass through the portal space,” Kelly finished the logic chain.

“Exactly!” Grey agreed. “I thought, if the portal could randomly change locations within Thraveon, perhaps I could sift through the ley lines and find…using my knowledge of ley line geography… find us a more useful location.”  Grey pulled the ley line abruptly to the right and his office filled instantly with bright sunlight, scorching waves of heat, and the dull whooshing sound of cold air rushing to meet hot.  Grey dropped his hand from the ley line and pointed an outstretched hand to the rolling sand dunes and occasional scrub that lay beyond the portal.

“Behold, the desert of Karak!”  he said with a measure of pride generally reserved for parents, grandparents,  and artists.  “One of the most majestic sights in all of Thraveon, and at the moment, just what we need.”

The snow began at once to evaporate.   Kelly moved to the open portal to peer through and stood amazed by the wind-swept lines and swirls of colored sands; swath after swath of varying hues of yellows, oranges, reds, and browns.  The sunlight reflected off of the sand as it moved with the wind, and it seemed to be alive.

High above the desert, in the ochre colored sky, a flock of large birds flew effortlessly, the sun gleaming off their teal colored feathers, the bright red plumes on their heads swept back by their momentum.  They rose as a group though they did not flap their outstretched wings which instead caught thermals to lift them on rising air currents.  Without warning they swooped in unison towards some unseen prey on the desert floor.

“Karakian Skyhawks,” Grey said.  “A bird of my own creation.  They’re sort of a plumed hawk the color of a peacock or a teal duck, but with a natural tendency to hunt, fly, and react as a unitary flock, a single unit.”

“They are amazing!  The whole scene is extraordinary!” Kelly said in awe, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“That’s because there isn’t anything like it,” Grey said.  “My parents and I visited the Painted Desert in Arizona when I was five years old.  I guess it stuck with me, except I wanted more color and the illusion of movement.”

“You certainly got it,” Kelly said, still staring.  “It’s just plain amazing!”

“And deadly,” Stonefist added, “don’t forget deadly.  You don’t want to be in the Karakian desert at night, right Grey?”

Grey did not respond. He had turned to sit on the edge of his desk as he spoke and had closed his eyes for just a moment, the events of the day catching up with him. He could see his mother and father calling to him to come see the colored sands of the Painted Desert.   It must have been 1967, the year they took that car trip across country, bringing the total number of states he had visited up to 46, all but Washington and Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.

“Who painted the desert, mommy?” he asked, “and how did they get so much paint?”

“Well Grey, God painted it,” his mother replied gently, “he just closed his eyes and made it appear.  Isn’t it beautiful?”

“It sure is mommy.  God does good work.”

Grey’s father squatted down in front of him and looked him in the eye, never missing an opportunity to teach.  “Yes he does Grey, as we all should. We must all do the best work we can.”

Grey looked at the desert and began to cry.

“What’s the matter?” his mother asked.

“I’ll never learn to paint like that mommy! It’s too hard.”

His parents hugged him and smiled and tried to hide their laughter.

“Silly boy,” his mother began softly. “You don’t have to create anything this great.  God already did it for you…unless you plan to be god when you grow up,” she teased.

“Maybe,” he replied sheepishly, “I don’t know what I want to be yet.”

“Well, it’s okay Grey,” his father said gently, “just as long as you promise to be the best at whatever you choose to be.”

“I will Daddy,” Grey replied.  “I promise.”

His parents hugged him again and each took a hand to walk him back to the car.

Those were simpler times.  No difficult decisions, no weighty responsibilities, no life-threatening situations.  As they approached the car his father clicked the key fob and Grey heard the doors unlocking.

Grey’s eyes flew open and he shot upright from the desk!  There were no key fobs or auto locks in 1967!  He must have been daydreaming.  That sound was the familiar buzz-click of the cipher lock on his outer office door.  Someone, probably Chief, was coming into the office.

Posted in Behind the Screen, Enroute to Serendib Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

My Book Is Nearing Completion!

86,000 words and climbing.   If all goes as planned, I have about six chapters left to write, then some polishing and editing, over to a friend for continuity reading and to tell me whether its worth putting out.  I’ll still have to get it cleared, and find a cover artist, but it shouldn’t be much longer.    By next week, I’ll have  a more concrete idea of the actual timeline.

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The Door Creaks Open

And a cloud of dust billows out of the room, hitting my face and filling my nostrils with the stale scent of untouched Blog.  Where on earth have I been?  What could I have been doing so long that kept me from writing?

Well, I’m glad you asked.   I was…writing.

You know those seven posts I did where I asked friends for words and then started a continuing story?

I finally decided it was time to write a novel.   I’m over halfway there now, and moving swiftly towards completion.  I will keep you all updated as I get closer, and may even put a few teaser sections onto the Blog.   Stay tuned.

Posted in Blog's Fer

It isn’t February and I haven’t written a book

Anyone paying attention will notice that I have not written in this Blog since February.   I thought about sneaking in and writing eight months worth of posts and claiming some technical glitch but;  a) you are all smarter than that, b) I couldn’t write eight months worth of posts in eight months…how I imagine I could do it in a few days is somewhat illogical, and c) the wonderful technology of Word Press puts the date stamp on each post as it is published.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that no one would have been fooled by 120 posts that were dated 5-8 October.   Oh well.

So what has inspired me to find my Blog password and clean the cobwebs off of my keyboard after all of these many months?  A colleague at work.  (I suppose that should  have been “who” as opposed to “what” but don’t be picky, I have to ease back into this. )

In a somewhat normal (well, for me anyway) moment today, a work conversation with one of my highly intelligent colleagues led me down a stray path of synapses and dendrites into an intriguing mental room.  What if we wrote book reviews for books that we haven’t actually written, as if we really had…

Here, lightly edited to lightly protect just about everybody, is the first “Book Not Written.”  I look forward to reading yours as well.


The General Doesn’t Eat Eggs

Jervis Pax

Simone and Schooster, $16.95 Amazon Hardcover Price

It’s December 2004 and Army Lieutenant Colonel Jervis Pax is sitting with guests at his breakfast table in a small Asian country when the deadly tsunami hits, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of minutes.   When the phone rings moments later and a contact tells Pax that a “big wave” has hit the coast and that several hundred people may be dead, Pax is initially unmoved.  “Several hundred people,” Pax says glibly, “why that’s a bus accident in India or a wedding tent collapse in Pakistan.  Call me back if it turns out to be really bad.”   In the days and months that follow, Pax is responsible for directing the relief efforts of nearly 2000 U.S. military members that descend on the Asian nation bringing money, manpower and misguided good intentions.    Pax recounts this and other tales from his many years as a Defense Attache, the U.S. military’s equivalent to the Foreign Service Officer.  Whether relating his hours of consternation at having “lost” a senior foreign general in Asia only to find him sleeping in the wrong hotel room, or describing his indignation at watching junior staff officers sort M&Ms by color for an incoming group of dignitaries who “don’t like the red ones,” Pax’s descriptive power and dry humor will have you crying one moment and laughing out loud the next.    He describes, for example, an ordinary day of travel in Asia and the unusual occurances that routinely punctured all notions of reality.  “I noticed that I was hurtling towards a cluster of saffron-clad Buddhist monks who had gathered at the bottom of the ramp for reasons known only to them.  Great, I thought, I’m going to be the first and last contestant in the international bowling for monks tournament and by evening, I’m going to be in a prison in Hong Kong.”  Told through intimate portraits of Pax’s interlocutors and unsparing yet fascinatingly detailed descriptions of life as a U.S. Army officer abroad, The General Doesn’t Eat Eggs- the culmination of years spent struggling to herd cats in support of U.S. Foreign Policy —illuminates both the droll mysteries of executing the U.S. national security strategy at the “tip of the spear” and the realities of attempting to wield the spear and finding “that all you have is the shaft.”   383 pages.

“A must read for anyone interested in lives truly lived.”
Publishers Weekly

“Just how a good story should be told.”

“I laughed so much, I almost threw a shoe.”
G.W. Bush

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Terrorists Are Gaining On Us

This is the twenty-first century for those that haven’t noticed.  It means cell phones and blackberries and ipods and miniature umbrellas that fit in your coat pocket.  It also means, because of increasing incidents of terrorism and attempted terrorism, that we all must endure heavy security at airports and theme parks and government buildings. (Don’t get me started on the similarities between the latter two examples).   Terrorists win when they force us to change our way of life.  I begin to think they may be gaining on us.

I work in a government building and so I have become accustomed to walking through a metal detector every time I enter my building, or any other government building I am visiting for that matter.   Because I do this every day, I have had the foresight to put my cell phone and my blackberry and my miniature umbrella into the laptop case I use as a briefcase, along with my keys and coins, and wallet and other items that might normally be carried in my pockets.   I don’t actually need my phone in my pocket when I’m walking from my car to the building in any case, and it saves me time at the entrance to the building.  If only there were others who had similar foresight.

Unfortunately, I seem to be destined to be in line behind people who have never in their lives encountered a metal detector before.  They stand patiently in line watching the people in front of them reach in their pockets and pull everything out to put in the plastic dog food bowls that security sends through the scanner, then walk through the metal detector hesitantly as if it is going to grab them.   They watch intently as if they will learn something or disinterestedly as if they have seen it all before, but they never take that time to begin to pull things out of their own pockets.

No.  Every morning, without fail, the person in front of me, and often the three people in front of them, go through the same routine.

First they set a bag down on the scanner belt that goes through in a matter of seconds.

Then, they reach into their pocket daintily, as if they aren’t sure what they may find, and pull an item out, showing it to the security officer and shrugging as if they weren’t aware it was there.  “My phone,” they say, as if no one could figure out that it was a phone.  I watch them begin to step through the metal detector and  I realize it is going to be another morning like yesterday morning.   It must be the first day they’ve ever had a blackberry clipped to their belt, because when the metal detector goes off, they pat themselves down and begin to search for the offending item.

They look surprised when they find the coins in their other pocket, and toss them haphazardly into another dog food bowl, the first having already gone through the scanner.

“Your Blackberry, sir,” the security officer says with a slight hint of irritated boredom.  He has seen this act before as well.

“Oh, sorry, I forgot,” the genius in front of me says.  “My blackberry.”

“And your metal belt, and rolexx, and whatever that is bulging in your jacket pocket,” I think to myself.

Mr. Genius tries again.   The metal detector goes off again.  Screwing up his face in determination, Mr Genius begins to put his hand into every pocket, one hand at a time, one pocket at a time, fishing around for items that might be setting off the detector.  As he locates items he holds them up for the security officer to see, like Mr. Bean making a sandwich.  I begin to fantasize about taking out my miniature umbrella and…

I watch as he fishes out and displays keys, another phone (his wife’s, he forgot he had it), a miniature umbrella, an ipod, a set of ear buds, some more coins, ANOTHER set of ear buds, (a backup pair, never can be too careful) A JACKNIFE!!  (now where did that come from?).  Finally stripped of all his metal items, he moves soundlessly through the detector.

“Phew,” he says, looking back at me for some sympathy, which I am thinking, comes between skull fracture and systematic dismemberment in the dictionary.

As he begins to sift through four dog bowls for his personal items,  I set my bag down on the scanner belt, walk through the metal detector and pick up my bag from the other side, which is already threatening to push some of the dog food bowls filled with his items over the edge.

His eyes widen as he sees his items being scattered and grasps at them desperately.  It is all he seems to grasp.

I glance back to see if he is smart enough to put at least some of the items into his bag, but no, each and every item goes into a pocket of his pants, suit, or coat.

“I don’t know why I have to go through this every day,” he tells the officer.

“Neither do I,” I think.

If this were a tourist who had never been to the twenty-first century before, I might have  some sympathy.  Unfortunately, it is someone who works in the building and should know better.

It may be the exact same person I was behind yesterday.

I am fairly certain it is the same person who was in front of me at security the last time I was at the airport, the guy who was trying to finish his cell phone conversation while TSA agents yelled at him to put his phone down.

Or was that the lady with the two sixteen ounce bottles of shampoo sticking out of a one quart ziploc bag.

I worry for our nation, I really do.

Posted in Enroute to Serendib, Life, The Multiverse, Everything Tagged with: , , , ,

Airplane Manners

I believe in cultural sensitivity.  I am all for tolerance and understanding.  Compassion may not be my middle name, but it is certainly right up there in my core principles.  Bad manners on an airplane however, increasingly drive me to distraction.

I have done a lot of international flying over the years.  I’ve flown with goats (really), and in aircraft that should not be allowed to leave the ground.  I’ve been in smoke-filled no smoking cabins and endured intolerable meals and unpleasant seat mates too inumerable to recall.  At times, I’ve wondered if some of my fellow passengers should really have been allowed to leave the institutions in which they were undoubtedly housed.  These are the kind of things one must get used to when flying to exotic locales.  I will admit that decades of the worst possible experiences on international flights did not prepare me for the behavior of my seatmate on a recent domestic flight.  I cannot bear to describe his actions to you, so I will just have to write to him and hope that he is listening, little good it might do.

Dear Obnoxious and Nauseating,

I’m not certain where you grew up, or what cage you were released from, but I want to let you in on a few secrets that your fellow passengers all seemed to learn at an early age.

You shouldn’t pick your nose, especially up to the second knuckle.

You shouldn’t clean your fingernails with your teeth, or bite your cuticles until they bleed.

You definitely shouldn’t pick your nose, and THEN clean your fingernails with your teeth.

You shouldn’t EVER clean your fingernails with your teeth while your cuticle blood is running down your chin.

You shouldn’t reach your bleeding hand into your shirt to scratch your chest and belly.  If you do reach inside, leave whatever it is you find there.  If you do pull something out, do NOT flick it across the plane.  This goes for the contents of your nose and the cuticles you remove as well.  The lady in the aisle seat across from me nearly gagged.

I likely would have killed you when you started digging in your ear, but I was too busy looking for the hidden camera.  No sane person in a tie behaves this way in public unless there is acting involved.  How wrong I was.

When the flight attendant offers you food, you wait for her to hand it to you.  You do NOT reach across in front of your seatmate and hit him in the face with your arm.  If by chance your arm flies off on its own and you DO hit your seatmate, you apologize politely, not lean further across to grab at the food.  It was only a sandwich in any case, not that you would have been able to taste it around the delicate tastes of fingernail, blood, skin, belly hair and other treasures.

For the sake of other passengers, if not for your own dignity, close your mouth when you eat food.   If you must eat with your mouth open, try to use your teeth to chew the food.   Your palate and tongue make interesting, if not completely disgusting  sounds, but they do not masticate well.   Do not drink with your mouth open and full of food, there is a limit to what the human lips can hold without spilling, as you experienced but did not seem to learn.  Talking to the flight attendant during this whole process is especially impolite.   As your food particles and spittle hit my tray table, shirt sleeve and cheek, I contemplated murder.  It was only the knowing apologetic glance of the flight attendant and her silent pleas that I spare your life that kept me from disproving the TSA’s belief that a human being cannot be disemboweled with a plastic spoon.  I would have been most happy to show them that they are wrong.

If you cannot speak without profanity, perhaps you should keep your mouth closed.  When a six year old is sitting in the seat in front of you, the F-bomb is not an appropriate adjective to describe each successful word you fill in on your crossword puzzle.   I know you are sane, because you noticed the look I gave you, the one that said, “the flight attendant isn’t looking now, do you have any idea what I can do to you with this pencil?”  You stopped using profanity as decorative embellishments to your monologue.

Perhaps you can’t afford a dry cleaner.  I don’t want to know what the stains on your shirt and pants and tie were.  You could have at least worn cologne so that other passengers didn’t have to smell you.

When you have to get up to use the facilities (thank you for actually getting up), you shouldn’t climb over your seatmate’s tray and seat.  Just ask politely and allow them time to get up so you can pass.   Passing gas while passing is right out.  Chuckling while passing gas while passing is a coded request for being strangled with a leather belt.  Burping on the flight attendant is not cute.

Using your cell phone during the descent is illegal as well as rude.  Lying about it being turned off when the flight attendant asks you is childish, bordering on moronic.  Again, I know you are sane, because the “I’m going to shove that phone up your fourth point of contact if you don’t turn it off” look I gave you made you realize the error of your ways.

I will not discuss your shoes, or socks or feet.  I wish I had only seen one of the three, but there are many things I wish about that flight.

If I ever see you on a flight again, and you haven’t learned some modicum of manners, I shudder to think what will happen.


Tolerant and Patient

There ought to be rules.  I mean, really.  You all fly from time to time.   We can add to the strong suggestions in my letter above and write a guide book/rule book for polite travelers based upon our past experiences.

I know I’ve seen a thing or two in my time, so I’ll start.

1.  On long flights, it is okay to remove your shoes.  It is NOT okay to remove your pants.

2.  It is a toilet, not a water park.

3.  The nice people in uniform are flight attendants.  They are NOT nannies, garbage collectors or psychologists.

4.  Yelling at the purser does not make the plane go faster, nor does it get you your choice of meal.

5.  If this is “the fifth flight you’ve been on that the seat has broken,” perhaps the seats are not the problem.

6.  If the Captain has to leave the cockpit to talk to you, it probably isn’t because you are a model passenger.

7.  Your cell phone should not be in use during take off and landing.  Your goats should not be copulating while the plane is in the air.

8.  Save the environment when you are alone; shower before you fly, even if it means wasting water.  As an additional tip, I would point out that deodorant is not that expensive, even in most developing nations.

9.  Altitude does not make you any sexier.  Similarly, your blonde seatmate will not be attracted to you simply because you drink more wine.   Your inhibitions may be lower sir, but her brain still functions.

10.  Do you really want to tell your children you met their mother outside the toilet on a plane?  Stop trolling for potential mates near the galley and toilet.  You aren’t fooling anyone.

Posted in Enroute to Serendib Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and a happy new year.    I am fortunate to have just returned from an overseas trip, so am a bit behind on the usual house projects, and, as you can tell from the long hiatus, VERY far behind in blogging.

So here is the problem.  I have a new Lute…and have made it my medieval resolution to learn to play it this year.  This will take time.   Many hours a week.   Hours that I might have used to write more…which was my resolution the past two years.  Jewelry making and other hobbies took that time away…now I’ve added yet another thing to the to-do list.

Bottom line…I am going to find the time to do it all.  The more public the resolutions, the more likely I will stick with them, so here goes.

In 2010, I will:

Write in my blog routinely.  (I’m talking at least several times a week if not more).

Continue to make exercise a part of my life.  (Ditto the above parenthetical comment).

Learn to play the Lute.  (As much time as it takes…)

Be a better person.   (Is there really enough time for this, ever?  🙂     )

Yet more misadventures Your Grace…

Posted in Life, The Multiverse, Everything Tagged with: , , ,


Several days ago someone, I’m not even sure who, I’m not even sure if I really knew them, sent me an email telling me to look at some SCA (medieval) pictures on their facebook page. I was not doing anything at the time…no really…so I clicked the link and discovered that I had to register to actually see the pictures. Perhaps it was the medication I was taking for my tendonitis…perhaps it was the stress of getting ready for Pennsic War…perhaps it was fate…I registered.

What happened next will one day be explained to me by one of my many geek friends. It may take all of them. Who knows?

Facebook reached into my computer, or into my email contact list, or into my brain, I’m still not sure, I’m sometimes computer challenged if you will recall. It reached into something and started pulling the addresses of everyone I send emails to, and everyone they send emails to, and everyone who knows someone who has heard of me, and anyone who might possibly be close to someone who has vaguely recalled a conversation where someone whose names sounds like mine was mentioned…and it added them as friends.

Within minutes I was confirming click, yes that’s a friend, click yes that’s a friend, click…oh no…who is that…oh well…they are a friend now…click…click…click.

Now what? I’m supposed to write in my facebook I suppose…and post pictures and…interact. But I barely find time to post here in the safe cocoon of my blog, where I get an occasional comment. How am I going to find time to write in Facebook? What if it pulls me in? You have seen the nearly seven hundred pieces of jewelry I have made since September haven’t you? Ack! I could get sucked in. Even some of the posts have warned me about wasting hours on Facebook. I don’t have hours…I don’t have minutes. I have furniture to build and surcoats to sew and more shields to paint…

Hey! Can’t I get my Blog to talk to my Facebook page? That would cut down some writing time. When I post this I’m going in to Facebook…if you don’t hear from me in a while…please send a rescue team.

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Tendonitis Was NOT On My List

We put in an orchard several weeks back, which involved clearing land and then digging seven holes in hard clay.  Part of the job was completed with a shovel, but below the first six inches, there was nothing but solid clay and rock.  Excavating this required a sledge hammer and a three foot long steel rod.  By the end of the day, my arm was tired.  The next day, my arm was sore.  Now, six weeks later, my arm is incapable of doing simple things like lifting a salt shaker, firmly grasping another human being’s hand, or brush my teeth with any grace.

I went to the doctor on Friday after multiple suggestions by my loving wife.  I received a steroid shot (darn it, there goes my chance at being a pro-football player), some painkillers, some muscle relaxants and a stern warning from the doctor not to lift anything heavy.  Swordfighting is right out.  Using my right arm is frowned upon.   Enter the weekend to-do list.

It is impossible to do anything when you are right handed and you aren’t supposed to use your arm.  Let me be more precise.  It is impossible to NOT do anything when you are right handed and aren’t supposed to use your arm.  I DIDN’T not use my right arm about two hundred times this weekend, in spite of all the friends and helpers trying to keep me from doing anything.

And, regardless of my weakness, all the pain, and all the admonitions NOT to do (whatever I was doing)…we got a LOT accomplished.  We sanded and stained five sets of pavillion poles for the new household pavillions (the pavillions are new, not the household).  We drilled, strapped, canvased and painted seven Scuti shields, we cut out, ironed, and sewed half the seams on fourteen war tabards for Pennsic war, and we fixed, strapped, padded, built or made a number of old and new armor pieces.  Oh…and I made eighteen pair of earrings.  (I was sitting idle at the time and the painkillers were doing their job).

Of all the things that I tend to put on a to-do list….getting tendonitis was definitely NOT one of them…

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