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It's been awhile since I posted anything; I've been busy on other platforms. I get occasional ribbing for my loyalty to Livejournal, but I'm not a fan of WordPress and all my archives are here. I can see a time coming when I might port or mirror my blog on Tumblr, but I'm not quite there yet.

I feel besieged by politics, and living in Ohio doesn't help since blanket advertising is the norm, so surfing social media is off my radar tonight. I've puttered through the various books I'm reading (I'm typically switching between three books at any given time), but haven't been able to sink my teeth into any of them. Then it occurred to me that my new bluetooth keyboard just arrived and that I could write words instead of reading them.

So here I am.

I've been delightfully brainstorming lately. I'm planning two potential busking tours abroad for next year, learning music for my next album and plotting out the one to follow it, and bringing my Patreon campaign to life: I'm very pleased with how well it has been received, and I'm having a lot of fun doing the work involved. Plus, of course, living my life and sharing liberally of it on Facebook and Twitter.

I just spent ten days visiting friends in Canada, which was incredibly refreshing. I had two weekends free so I filled them with an SCA event and a Halloween party, with lots of visits in between, and in general had an amazingly-conversation-filled interlude. I seem to have nailed the balance between socializing and down time, and I'm feeling really well and happy, if somewhat full of Halloween treats.

I'm having a rather wonderful year, though I feel guilty as I watch so many of my friends struggling, and I'm superstitiously looking around to see when another shoe might drop. I'm repeating my mantra of "improvisation is my contingency" as I keep on keeping on, and thankfully my anxiety has been fairly calm since I'm spending so much time plotting interesting scenarios that I'm too busy to contemplate worst cases.

So far, so good, and here we go again!
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
Every now and then I worry that someone in my life feels shortchanged because our relationship never got physical. It can be an awkward elephant in the room, but the stars have to very carefully align for that to happen with me. Small things can easily derail romance: the most common is timing, but it's not the only factor.

I have never in my life approached a potential romantic partner with a checklist, and I never thought I had a type. Looking back over past relationships, however, I've identified four traits that seem important (but I'm not going to tell the internet what they are). I've never excluded someone from my affections based on predetermined criteria, but everyone I've ever dated has met at least three of these conditions.

Bizarre.

Twenty years ago I made a friend in college, and we're still in regular close contact. There was an attraction but things never lined up for us to date, and it's always been an unspoken might-have-been between us.

Still, she's outlasted a half dozen serious relationships, none of whom are in my life as she's remained. Her presence has been a rock, and I wouldn't go back and change things if I could.

I love my friends, and they're vital to my well-being. That's the important part of any relationship, and I think the physical side is overemphasized.
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I did it right this Pennsic. 

I played about an hour most days, giving me plenty of time with a very engaged and delightful audience of medieval enthusiasts. I love playing for SCAdians! I didn't perform to a point of burning out, but enough to meet my financial goals for the event and to feel connected to the community. It's one of the best examples of work-life balance I've had yet, and I'm delighted. 

My camp, Harpwood Hall, is incredible. We're almost all musicians and hold a scheduled jam night in addition to various impromptu happenings. They are some of my closest friends, and spending more time in camp was a fantastic way to use my time. 

I didn't see nearly enough of many people I don't see nearly enough, but that's a pretty standard Pennsic complaint; with 10,000 of us it's a bit hard to make all the social rounds I hope for. Still, it was a delightful time to catch up with old friends. 

The event was capped by my being gobsmacked in Ealdormere court with induction into the Order of the Crucible (which will mean nothing to anyone outside the SCA, but it's a GoA level polling order for the arts. Wikipedia is your friend). It was a complete surprise, and I am honoured and flattered to be thus recognized. Whoever wrote the text of my scroll knows me, and I'm still hunting them down, because "carried on the winds of fortune" is the most succinct expression of my life and worldview I've ever heard.

I'm back in NY for a Faire weekend and looking ahead to some interesting plans in the next few weeks. The adventure continues!
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When I first started playing professionally I looked at performing on my birthday as a good omen. Gigs in early March are much rarer than in summer or fall, so I took it as a good sign to have work so early in the spring. 

Later, as a busker and a more established musician, I started taking my birthdays off. I spent 30 in Pompeii, 31 in the scenic village of Scilla, 32 on a Palestrina pilgrimage, 33 visiting Vancouver, and 34 on the Greek island of Aegina. 

This birthday I'm marking ten years as a full-time musician, a bigger personal milestone than my thirty-five years of life, and I'm celebrating both with some of my closest friends. 

I am very, very thankful. 
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
I had a lovely time at Mardi Gras 2010 (Lombardi Gras), but as my Facebook feed fills with pictures from celebrating friends in NOLA I'm not really pulled to go to another. 

I'd love to spend some time with those friends, animated conversation over a cocktail or a bottle of wine. But parties per se aren't really my thing, and wild bacchanalia has never appealed to me. 

I've got friends who throw amazing gatherings, where I can conversation surf and enjoy the company of brilliant and interesting people. But, in my mind at least, that's a different ball game. 

Except when we're standing around a merrily burning windmill, a highlight of last year. 

Maybe I do miss it a little.  
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
It's been kind of a ludicrous week.

Saturday night I had dinner with my cousin Brad and his wife Ginger. Sunday night I went out with a bunch of faire performers. Monday I was north of Cincinnati to see Tiffany and Scott, while spending Tuesday in Dayton visiting Samantha and Kelly. Wednesday I was in Columbus for lunch with Shanna before dinner with Lilith, Michael, and Lilith's husband whose name shamefully escapes me. Minus Michael we had breakfast on Thursday, before I headed to Cincinnati and saw Noises Off, followed by a drink with a few cast members (I know Eileen from the Colorado faire).

And it's far from over. Saturday night I'll commute to Youngstown after the Pittsburgh faire for a cousin's wedding reception. I'll go out on Sunday for the big end-of-show gathering, then visit my parents on Monday. Tuesday I board a plane to Seattle, where it'll be great to see Tim and Truly again!

It hasn't been an exclusively social week, however. At OSU I flipped through a sixteenth century book on music theory enough to decide I must own it, and at UC I found a bunch of Italian lute music from that era I want to bring to the dulcimer. I got a copy of my MA paper while I was there, and am pleased to realize it doesn't suck. And I've run the assorted errands required to prep for flying a dulcimer transcontinentally. It's been a great week!

Recap

Oct. 27th, 2009 12:33 am
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It's been a wonderful two months; here are some of the memories I'm taking away.

Long, rambling, philosophical conversations over wine with close friends.

Turning Facebook into a drinking game.

My New York City performing debut at Marrus' book release party.

Flirting shamelessly with beautiful and intelligent people.

Richard and M.A. visiting for a weekend to reform the Diva Squad from this summer's European adventures.

Poker games with Paul, Jimmy, and Bartlett.

Jamming with Misfits of Avalon at the festival and having Liam, a ten year old drummer, keep up with my warp speed.

Experiencing Montreal for the first time, complete with my first visits to the states of Vermont and New Hampshire (I'll pick up Maine next year).

Paul and I dubbing our house the "Toolshed" and having it live up to the title.


Tomorrow morning I head off into new adventures, but it has been a grand time and I'm happy to be coming back again next fall.
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It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything, and they've been going very quickly. The St Louis Renaissance Faire has been treating me very well, and it's a great pleasure to be back among so many friends. It's an atmosphere that I always find rejuvenating; after a few months of performing six days a week the more relaxed pace of a festival is always welcome, and this one in particular reminds me of why I so love performing.

Still, I'm getting very excited to head back to Europe a week from next Monday. I'll be in areas I've never been, as well as a return to Austria for the first time since 2006. It should be a grand adventure, and one that is almost surprising in how quickly it's approaching!
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Easter in Genova is huge. I don’t have any idea why Genova celebrates it so much (other than the usual Jesus-rose-from-the-dead stuff), but it’s an amazing time to be there. I had a fantastic time, but on Monday night I realized that I’d performed for fourteen days without a break and was in desperate need.

Thankfully, Tuesday morning Allison arrived for a week-long visit. We spent three days in Genoa, which were lovely except for uncooperative weather. Still, I had a really great experience doing some recording for a local documentary filmmaker who was editing a piece on the local area during the Middle Ages. He saw me playing on the street and hired me to contribute some instrumental medieval music to his project. It was great fun! Even better, he was a bit of a heavy metal fan and he knew of the band I recorded with last year. This is the kind of thing I live for ☺

From Genova we headed east to Padova (or Padua), where I had some good busking last year. Unfortunately, as I set up for my first street set, I was told that CD sales were forbidden (although they hadn’t been a problem last year). I still had a good few hours playing (while Allison worked on writing the biggest project of her career thus far), but was a little disappointed about the whole thing. I’m hoping I just caught the wrong cops on the wrong day, and will probably come back for a day or two next year to see what happens.

That afternoon Allison and I took a daytrip to Verona. It was interesting to see our differing interpretations of the city’s Shakespearean connection (it being the setting for Romeo and Juliet), since she’s a Shakespearean actor and director and I’m an historian. She noticed, for example, that “Juliet’s House” (interesting for a fictitious character) didn’t involve an orchard for a courtyard, which differed from the text of the play. I, however, was much more willing to note the building’s Capulet heritage and assume poetic license.

On Sunday we had planned to hang out in Padova, but since I’d had a setback with the local busking I decided to go for the gold. I wanted to busk Venice.

I get asked a lot about busking in Venice, but I’ve never done it. The reason for this is that there is a mile of regulations and paperwork involving permits, restrictions, and suchlike. I found the full text online and just didn’t want to deal with that. But, I figured, if I could accidentally avoid Padovan police for three days last year I could probably do so for a few hours in Venice.

And it worked. Delightfully. I had a very good half hour set before it started to rain, but more importantly I feel that I’ve crossed a personal milestone. Despite the rain we did some walking around the city, and ended up completely exhausted from hauling her laptop and my dulcimer around. The next day, her last in Italy, we went back and had a much more leisurely time.

So yesterday morning I put her on a plane to New York, and I’m now in Brescia, a city that’s been very good to me in the past. I’m looking forward to the upcoming week, and will try to keep in better touch!
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Yesterday I arrived safe and sound and am having a great time with my good friends Tim and Truly!  I'm particularly pleased that traveling with a dulcimer, stand, and laptop worked so well because I've always been reluctant to bring both computer and instrument on airplanes.  This is sort of a dry run for my spring trip to Europe, when I'm also planning to have both.

I've had a lot of trouble in the past with airlines losing my stand, in particular.  I've always checked it as-is, which is basically a stick, and apparently it gets easily overlooked because it got lost both in Edmonton and Rome.  This time I wrapped it in screaming fuschia satin-finish polyester fabric, held together with duct tape, and it made it through just fine.  Not only was it obviously not a piece of equipment, it was also something no one else could ever mistake for theirs :)

So here I am for the next month and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to really get to know the city.  I met a busker on the ferry to where I'm staying, across Puget Sound, and I'm excited to have some busking opportunities in addition to the three coffee-house gigs I've got lined up.  The adventure continues!
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Wow, faire season is almost over.  It’s been an impressive year, with some pretty crazy events in the world outside and a few hurricanes to keep things interesting, and overall I’m pleased with how it’s gone.  This time of year always makes me a bit thoughtful, as I reflect on how life has changed (and how it has remained the same) over time.

I learned a lot this year.  I performed in southern Italy for the first time, made my debut at the legendary Sterling Renaissance Faire, and moved my fall show from the Maryland Renaissance Festival to King Richard’s Faire near Boston.  Now, at the end of the season, I’ve been reconnecting with my audience in a way I seem to have lost track of as the years have passed, which has been an appreciated injection of passion into my performance.

It has been an absolute pleasure to stay with the Haeuser family here in Louisiana again, surrounded by very close friends and conviviality.  There isn’t much time left, but we’re enjoying what we have.  Soon I’ll be making my way back north for the holidays with family, and then the new year will see me jetting off to Seattle for a month (thanks Tim and Truly!).  While I’m a little wistful to see the season come to a close, I’m really eager to dive into the things that lie ahead!

Seattle!

Oct. 25th, 2008 07:45 am
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Seattle is a very cool place!  I’m staying with my very close friends Tim and Truly, who moved out here two months ago when Tim got his dream job as CEO of the Seattle Children’s Theater.  They live on Bainbridge Island, across Puget Sound from the city, and it’s a really neat community (and a really lovely ferry ride)!

Some random notes before I start discussing events.  First, there is a definite Seattle aesthetic.  It’s most noticeable in 20-something men, who have almost uniformly short hair cut straight across the forehead and sideburns that come down to the bottom of the ears.  Among older men there are a lot of long-haired guys in ponytails and suits, which is interesting to see as a trend.  There are a few clothing cues as well, but the hair is the big thing.  Women tend to dress more eclectically than in some other places, but it seems a more generally urban and less local phenomenon.  Extensive travel in Italy, not to mention years on the road with the Aerial Angels, has sharpened my fashion observational skills.

Another thing that struck me is that this is the very obvious birthplace of Starbucks.  Not because they’re everywhere (though they are, being only slightly less prevalent than they are in the City of London), but because everyone is drinking coffee at all times.  Walking down the street with a cup-o-joe is almost a badge of assimilation, it seems, and there are small coffee shops everywhere (which is pretty cool considering the clout that Starbucks has).

I spent the majority of yesterday wandering through downtown, doing my usual exploration stuff.  I tend to approach new cities pretty much the same way, in getting myself deliberately lost (although with a map on hand) and then finding my way unlost.  In the process I tend to discover cool stuff and get a pretty good feel for a place. 

It was really neat to read, in print, The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly (most famous for its syndicated sex advice columnist Dan Savage, of whom I am a devoted fan).  I’ve read a lot of alternative papers over the years – it’s a great way to get a feel for an area – but this one is truly unique.  I always thought that they posted their most quirky pieces online in order to accentuate their difference over the internet, but the whole paper is that way.  An essay exploring similarities between Nathanial Hawthorne and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, for example, is still making my head spin.

I was wandering through Pike St Market, as one must, when I noticed a medieval fiddle in the window of a shop.  This caught my attention, to say the least, and thus was I introduced for the first time to one of the retail shops of Lark in the Morning.  I don’t do a lot of shopping with them these days (I’ve found some pretty good catalogues closer to home), but I got my start with Lark products and accessories.  Plus it was really cool to see and touch and hear various of the strange instruments I’ve coveted for years, most notably a five-course Fylde cittern that I’ve been drooling over for ten years but had never before seen in person.

I had a great conversation with the proprieter, who solved a nagging problem for me (“to transport a dulcimer stand as checked luggage you might want to use the carrying bag for a camera tripod”), recommended some places to try for gigs in January,
and told me to come back a little later to meet the famous Kat Eggleston.  I’d heard the name, and was fairly sure I’d met her, but every time I mentioned my profession to anyone in Seattle I got the response of “I know, like Kat!”  It was kind of humbling.

When I did come back later it turned out that the person I had been thinking was Kat wasn’t (I was misremembering a group dinner with Caroline Crusu several years ago), but that we had almost certainly met at the Bristol Renaissance Faire about four years ago.  We both vaguely recognized each other, in that annoying way where you can’t quite place things, although it might have been at least partially because I’ve cut my hair since then.  She was really cool to talk to, although I only had a little time, and I’m looking forward to dropping in to say hi again on my next visit!

In that vein, I also had a conversation with a busker playing at the Market which let me know what the procedure was for busking there as well as what city policy was towards busking in the city in general.  Being able to perform in public is a first amendment issue, and when buskers go to court they generally win, but it doesn’t stop harassing behavior on the part of city authorities in most American cities.  You will be acquitted, but you can still end up arrested and spending a night in jail if the cops don’t like you, and buskers with good lawyers willing to escalate through the court system aren’t exactly common.  Seattle police, however, aren’t that way at all from what I heard, and I saw several buskers on streetcorners throughout the city.  The sentence that clinched it for me was “I’ve even sold CDs to cops”.  That is a sign of a cool city!  I don’t know if I’ll have cooperative weather in January to take advantage of, but it would certainly be a fun thing to try.

I met Truly after she got off from work so that we could do some shopping.  There’s a Nordstrom Rack (Nordstrom’s discount outlet) near where she works, and it is probably my favorite store anywhere, ever.  Whenever I’m in a city with one I have to go by, and Truly and I have had fantastic shopping experiences in the past, so we made an outing of it.  It was incredible fun, and I have two new shirts to show for it (as well as an enhanced palette to choose from based on her recommendations).

As we were walking from her work to the store, however, came the most dramatic point of the day.  I looked up the street to see some guy pummeling another guy who was on the ground trying to protect his face, bleeding from nose and mouth, with a crowd of onlookers watching anxiously.  I’m still stunned that I didn’t think, didn’t hesitate, but waded in and pulled the guy off, standing between him and the prone guy until he gave up and stalked away.

I’m still marveling at my response, and the way I felt afterwards.  I think the reason I acted so quickly was because I saw a guy get jumped twelve years ago and, other than interposing myself between the fight and the girl I was walking with, I did nothing, and have regretted it ever since.  Once the fight was over we made sure that the cops had been called and that the guy wasn’t in immediate need of first aid (though he was pretty high on something) and went on our way; I wouldn’t be able to identify the assailant and figured I had nothing more to offer the situation.  In hindsight part of me is worried that it could have gone worse for me, part of me is disappointed that after all my city-time I’m not quite as jaded as I might think, but mostly I’m kind of proud of the way I acted by instinct, and the instinct that I acted upon.

Hijinks aside, I am having a fantastic time visiting friends and exploring a new place; this is a fantastic city to enjoy!

Update

Oct. 17th, 2008 08:36 pm
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It's been a great week!  My very good friend[livejournal.com profile] marrus came by for a few days and I got to play host (albeit badly).  I spend so much time being a guest that it's a rare opportunity that I can enjoy the other side of that coin.  Unfortunately my housemate Paul (the famous Paolo Garbanzo) was working a gig in Alabama so the three of us didn't get a chance to hang out, but that did mean she got a bedroom instead of just a couch (he offered).

Spending time with Marrus is always a blast, and always incredibly stimulating.  We had some great conversations about the things we do and the lunatic lives we lead, and I even got to read a draft of her upcoming book (it's in editing with her publisher).  We talked a lot about envy, specifically about being envied, and her take is that it can act as inspiration for other people to pursue their dreams, following our examples.  Even though we've had this conversation before it's such a different perspective for me that it's always revelatory, and to drive the point home it came up in a conversation with my mother this morning.  "I keep waiting for you to settle down, but everyone can't stop talking about how cool it is that you're doing what you're doing".

Thanks for the vote of confidence mom :)

Then last night was the highlight of the Onset social season - the Progressive Dinner.  Since there are about twenty of us renting houses and rooms in the town, each house hosts a course and the party moves from house to house.  We started out with cocktails, progressed to appetizers, moved on to soups, came to my place for salad, enjoyed the entree, and then I skipped dessert because I was already falling asleep (thanks Gabriel for the use of your shoulder).  So much fun!

On another note, I've been thinking about writing up some of my Italian adventures for possible publication and Marrus mentioned that the feedback she got from her LiveJournal has been incredibly useful in writing her book.  Because of this you might see some more serious writing in this space in the next few weeks, depending on how busy life gets (I am recording an album at the moment), and I'd welcome any comments you'd care to make.
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After a wet and drowsy day I was hanging out at the front gate of King Richard's Faire, just in time to see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7trDl3AEEY

These are the kinds of shenanigans that happen on rainy faire days!

My Weekend

Sep. 8th, 2008 07:41 am
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Tropical Storm Hanna blew through here on Saturday, and the faire was closed due to flooding and rain.  This left a number of performers and other participants with an unexpected day on their hands, which was actually kind of cool.  I ended up hanging out at my place most of the day with my housemates and their girlfriends, watching the Godfather II (which will quickly devour an afternoon),. The most memorable part was probably when we went for a walk, were joined by a few others, and ended up at the house of some other performers drinking wine and cocktails.  Saturday night featured a dinner at the "Aerial Angels/Lost Boys House of Cool" which was a lot of fun.  Getting twenty or so performers together in one place is often a recipe for disaster, but we were saved by being a majority of musicians (it's just a joke Paul, honestly!).

Sunday brought us beautiful weather, but very light crowds as people stayed home to watch the Patriots' opening game (and to avoid the related traffic).  The energy was a little low, but it was nice to use the opportunity to set up and play things I don't often play.  I brought out some slower music and some of the tunes I've been working on learning over the past few weeks, and was able to be a lot more interactive than I normally can be.

Of course, one of the best parts of the weekend is Monday morning, and we're expecting a number of people to arrive for brunch in a few hours.  I'm tempted by the prospect of the masseuse...
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It was a fantastic time, and a great performing experience.  We had a few jam sessions that were really fun, and one which has already passed into legend.  I love hanging out with Tim and Truly, and our other campmates were fantastic.  Busking went quite well and I got to see a lot of old friends and I made a few new ones, which is always a great combination.

It was a little weird, though, to have spent so little time there.  It's been three years since the Ontario Renaissance Festival closed, and that was the last time I left Pennsic for the two weekends in order to work a festival.  My internal clock was completely off and I didn't get to spend nearly as much time with some friends as I would have liked.  My brain simply couldn't process the difference between 8 days and the 12 days of Pennsic that it's used to.  It was great fun, however, to carpool between Pennsic and Sterling with Paolo Garbanzo, a good friend of mine, with whom I share a passion for Italy and a twisted sense of humor.  We actually had a sprinted race to the car last Friday after closing gate ceremonies in order to take off for Pennsic the sooner (I won through the cheat of throwing my hat at the car after he skillfully cut me off at a pass).

So tomorrow starts my last weekend at Sterling before heading to visit my parents before the Michigan Renaissance Festival.  My driving schedule for the next month is mildly insane, but at least I'll manage a visit to see Moira ([profile] pictsy) in there.  I've got a bunch of posts lurking to come out, but for now I'm settling into watching the Godfather for the first time in years.  Ciao!

Siriusly

Jul. 18th, 2008 03:43 pm
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I spent most of the week at the pagan event Sirius Rising in western New York state, and was thrilled to get a chance to hang out with some unexpected friends. Phil (of Phil's Grill fame) was there, and we got to do some jamming only a few weeks after our annual jam sessions at Lilies War. I saw my friend Carl Ashe, Giacamo of Empty Hats, for a few days as well, and we also did some playing together (as well as some wonderful conversation in Italian).

The highlight, however, was seeing Kenny Klein again. Kenny was a musician at the Ohio Renaissance Festival in the mid-90's, and was one of my biggest inspirations for originally going semi-professional. I hadn't seen him in at least eight years, maybe closer to ten, and it was just cool to spend a little time talking to him and hearing him play. I had hoped to do some playing with him, but I left site a day earlier than I had originally planned and so never had the chance.   One of these days I'd love for him to hear an instrumental medley of some of his music that I've been messing with for years.

I left early because my head was just in a really strange place. The event was a lot of fun and I made a few new friends, but I just wasn't really all there mentally. I'm afraid I took a lot of that out on poor Moira ([profile] pictsy) over the phone, and I hope that those of you who read her LJ can look me in the eye again (not to mention my guilt towards her).

But I'm back in Oswego and getting ready for the weekend and things seem to be back on an even (or at least more even) keel.  I'm relieved that the temperature is supposed to drop into the low 80's for the weekend, although Sunday has a 50% chance of rain.  I always feel that my professional interest in the weather brings me closer to my farming ancestry...
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The housing the festival provided is a shared house with a bunch of really nice people, but the best part is that it's a block from Lake Ontario.  I grew up a block from Lake Erie, and it's so beautifully reminiscent of my childhood that I can hardly express it.  Oswego, NY and Vermilion, OH have a lot in common, and I'm a little sad that I'll be spending so little time here over the next month.

The festival site is absolutely beautiful, and I'm thrilled to be involved with the caliber of entertainment at this festival.  I've got a number of friends here, which is really nice, and I'm excited to work with them again!  I'll be performing four shows a day with the Aerial Angels, and I'm planning on three or four lane shows around those.  I've heard so many fantastic things about Sterling over the years and I can't wait to see it for myself!
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Last Wednesday I headed up to the Great White North (well, not really, climatically southern Ontario is almost identical to the northern Ohio area where I grew up, but it's still fun to say), my brand new Panther pavilion in stow.  I got a bit of a look from the border guard, coming in with eight foot long wooden tent poles protruding into the passenger cabin (I'm pleasantly surprised that my Focus could handle them), but the crossing went well.  I had planned on camping Wednesday night, but I set up my tent that evening and then returned to hang out with my very good friends Tim and Truly in climate controlled surroundings.

Unfortunately, when I got everything ready to head back out to site on Thursday, I discovered that a magnum of red wine had exploded.  I'm not exactly sure what caused it, whether it was expansion due to the heat of the car or if it banged against my metal cot, but I have 1.5 liters of Montepulciano D'Abruzzo soaked into my back seat.  Fortunately it didn't stain any of the bedclothes sitting beside it, but drained pretty much straight down.  So far the smell has been noticable but not a problem, but Moira's idea that it might smell like vinegar after awhile has me a little worried.

After buying a new bottle (I had a taste for that wine specifically) I headed back out to site, and had a lot of fun meeting the people with whom I was camping.  It was a group of Tim and Truly's friends, and I'd met maybe six of the thirty or so in the past.  Getting to know new people is always fun for me, even if Moira thinks I'm a freak for that, and I had a great evening.  The best part, however, was moving into my tent.

My camping neighbors have this monster pavilion that's about 18 feet on a side and almost that tall.  My little wedge tent seemed tiny beside it, and I was a little concerned that I'd pinched my pennies too hard and gotten something that wasn't big enough for my needs.  Once I had all my gear stowed, however, I was overjoyed to find myself swimming in room.  I could stand up, turn around, get dressed comfortably, and even do my morning push-ups in the privacy and comfort of my tent.  Bliss!

I had a lovely time at Trillies, especially since I was asked to co-judge a performance arts competition.  It was really neat to watch and offer (hopefully) helpful comments to other performers.  I can see why one friend of mine, who is sometimes thought to be a little overbearing, is so free with her advice.

I spent time with old friends, I made some new ones, and in general had a good time.  Sunday morning, however, the weather was looking iffy and I was a little over-camped after having spent last week at Lilies.  I quickly packed up, again impressed with my tent in how easily it came down, and returned to hang out with Tim and Tru some more (they'd left the night before).  Then I did something I haven't done in almost twenty years - we went to the drive-in!

It was a quadruple feature, but we only stayed for the first movie.  Wall E was fantastic!  Cute, romantic, and very well done.  I'm stunned at how much expression they got out of robots who had no mouths to manipulate.  I've been pondering the mysteries of body language lately, and it surprised me to see the ideas of nonverbal communication so well illustrated (there is very little dialog for most of the movie).

We had hoped to see Prince Caspian afterward, but the sound was malfunctioning and we were all kind of wiped out.  But it was a great time, and seeing seven year old Zachary play with the random strangers around us before the movie was really really cool.  Kids immediately see other kids as playmates and friends-in-waiting, and I'd like to have more of that in my own life.

vinceconaway: (Default)
Wow, I’m not 22 anymore.  On the downside, 11 hours of driving hits me like it never used to.  On the plus side, when I’m in an argument with my girlfriend after said drive I know to say “I’m sorry I’m being unreasonable, I’m overtired”.

Lilies was fantastic!  I’m recovering today by mixing “Good Spirits Renewed”, which mainly involves listening to and comparing different takes.  Luckily this is something I can do while mindlessly surfing the internet (otherwise it’s an incredibly boring task), which is beautifully luxurious after a week in a tent!  Oddly, time zones don’t mean much when your natural alarm clock is set to “dawn”…

I had a great time, and I’m excited to be diving back into SCA land on Wednesday as I head to Canada for Trilliam Wars.  I got to spend a lot of time with good friends I don’t see nearly often enough, and my music was really well received.  I spent a lot of time rehearsing and learning new music, which was kind of a big step for me.  In college I neglected the piano because the only places to practice were the common areas of dorms and I didn’t want to look stupid in public.  At Lilies, however, I learned five or so new pieces as a start on the celtic CD I hope to record next winter.  It was kind of empowering, actually, and even when I thought I sounded horribly incompetent my neighbors still complimented me.

I had a rather strange experience that I’m not sure translates outside of the SCA.  Two friends of mine are currently king and queen of the Kingdom of Calontir (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa).  The way I talk to royalty is quite different from the way I talk to drinking buddies, and it was a big confusing.  I didn’t even recognize Belle when I first saw her, but that might have something to do with the difference between a cotehardie and her usual gypsy outfits…

I’m not a big party kind of person, I like much more intimate gatherings with good conversation.  I’m also a bit of an early bird (see “dawn”, above), so I tend to be asleep by 11.  The last night of Lilies, however, I stayed up much later than normal drinking with a group of musicians.  Not just musicians, but musicians of medieval music, which is a breed all its own.  It was fantastic!  We dorked out on musical ideas as well as the more usual discussions of gossip and group politics.  You know you’re in joyously geeky company when, half drunk, a friend pulls out a magazine and a flashlight and says “what do you think of this review?”  I loved it!  (the experience, that is, the reviewer was a bit of a sanctimonious prat)

I’m really excited to be heading to Trillies later this week, I’ll get to spend time with other friends I don’t see nearly enough (and, in one case, friends who are soon moving to Seattle and giving me a good excuse to come visit).  Until then I’ll be slaving over a mixing board…

July 2017

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