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I know it's been a hard year for a lot of people, but personally it's treated me fairly well even as I mourn for various people and events. I'd like to thank everyone who made this year so good for my music and travels; it's been a very full year for me, and I can't believe so much has happened in a mere twelve months.

I began the year in southern Ontario, Canada, recording Dulce Melos. I'm incredibly proud of how it came out, and of how ambitious I was with the complexity of its music. I continued my Baroque explorations, delved even further into sixteenth century music, and discovered some fourteenth- and fifteenth-century gems in addition to the Celtic and early medieval music which has long been my foundation.

From Canada I went to Texas, although it minimized my culture shock that I was living in Austin (unofficial motto: "Keep Austin Weird"). I had a truly splendid experience at the Sherwood Forest Medieval Faire, feeling myself absolutely at home among close friends old and new. It's a delightful show with a lot of heart and skill behind it and I relished the experience of playing there. Austin audiences were incredibly welcoming and generous, and between my colleagues and our patrons I had a magical time.

From the newness of Sherwood I returned to my stomping grounds of Gulf Wars, a large SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event in southern Mississippi. I had a great time, as my Canadian friends mingled with those I have in New Orleans. We did have a bit of an incident, however, with a massive storm system that swept through. I had just begun a set in the tavern when the intense winds and driving rains began, and I moved my setup to the minstrels' gallery (it's an amazing place). I spent the next few hours at my dulcimer, doing my best to add a bit of calm to the atmosphere. They're calling that night "Gulfnado", and it's a story that will always be shared by those who were there.

I then headed to Italy as I do most years, where I made some discoveries pro and con. Cities that have been good to me in the past, Padua and Bologna, had recently passed anti-busking regulations, and even the nominally friendly city of Perugia gave me some problems. In response, I broadened my busking to cities where I had spent very little time in the past, and was very pleased at my welcome in Prato, Terni, Foligno, and Pistoia. Taranto, Genoa, and Pisa were delightful and reliable as they've been so often in the past, and I'm pleased to have added Foggia to the list of cities where I reliably return.

From Italy I resumed my renaissance festival circuit, picking up in St Louis. I always feel very at home there, with this being my fifteenth year there as a musician, but it was a bit of an oddity; the festival is in the process of moving from the spring to the fall, and these two weekends were "preview" weekends offering a limited version of the show free to the public. Even so, I had a really positive experience, and the weekends were a rousing success.

I then spent a month performing at SCA camping events. It's typical for me to include a few of these throughout my year, as with Gulf Wars, but we were celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Society's founding. This meant that I went from St Louis to a ten-day camping event outside Kansas City, and on to a week outside Indianapolis, with a few days visiting my parents before a long weekend at the War of the Trillium surrounded by my family of friends in Greater Toronto.

I then continued my Canadian adventures by spending July as a street performer at Byward Market in Ottawa, the nation's capital. I love Ottawa and, as is a theme in my travels, have a number of friends there. It's my favourite busking pitch in North America, as a historic neighbourhood meets a farmers market under the umbrella of a very helpful and organized management team.

I returned to the States, and to the SCA, for my annual trek to Pennsic, north of Pittsburg. My fifteenth year there, I'm starting to play for the children of people who started listening to me as children, themselves. I taught a class on neat medieval sites to visit in Italy, and I was honoured to co-teach a lesson on street performing with my old friejnd and dear colleague Jack Strauss, who calls himself Dr Henry Best in the Society. We have sharply different styles, and it was a lot of fun to see where our perspectives differed and lined up. I'm especially proud to be a part of this class because it has a history of encouraging artists to become professionals, with several alumni who have gone on to make some brilliant art.

I'm running out of creative ways to say "and then I went someplace else".

So off to the New York Renaissance Faire rode I! It's a truly beautiful show set in a former botanical garden, where I'm surrounded by (you guessed it) good friends, delightedly playing for New Yorkers who live in the live entertainment capital of the world and know how to be a phenomenal audience.

Sadly, the New York Faire overlaps with the new autumn dates of the St Louis Renaissance Festival, but I was able to return for the last two weekends of its season. As I mentioned, the preview weekends had gone off very well, and the full show was an even bigger deal.

After two weekends off, which I spent being a social butterfly in southern Ontario again, I headed south to Louisiana. This was my fourteenth year at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, after a very difficult year for them. The site flooded in March, under 8 feet of water, and after they had cleaned it up did so again in September. I was deeply impressed at how many people pitched in their labour to make things work, and how well management pulled off the event after two such disasters. Thankfully the weather had gotten the water out of its system, because we only had one wet festival day the entire season for a remarkably good run.

In short, it's been a very good festival season for me. Outside of my live performances, however, I also got a lot more into Internet video this year. I launched a Patreon campaign and I'm very pleased both at its generous reception and with how much fun I'm having. I've been intending to take more video, and this has been a brilliant motivation to keep coming up with new variations. Many thanks to all of my patrons! And many thanks to everyone who has offered me encouragement, feedback, applause, and their business. Without you there could never be me, and I'm deeply thankful.
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I was recently approached by someone who wanted the story of how I got into renaissance festivals, since they are compiling such stories into a book. My imagination was fired by the idea, until I realized they were just asking for a detailed questionnaire. I'll still do that, but I wanted to share the details of how I got into this crazy business.

It all started when I was fourteen years old and my parents took me to the Baycrafters Renaissance Faire in Cleveland, over Labor Day weekend. My young mind was blown, and I knew I had found my tribe. I saw a lady play the lute, and I was shocked that such skills were still known and practiced. I saw my first SCA demo, where a group of fighters demonstrated the difference between Hollywood fight choreography and how massed medieval troops actually conducted themselves.

I went back over the next few years, and the memories blur. As a sixteen-year-old independent driver I was in line just as the parade was lining up. They offered free admission if I marched with them inside a giant puppet, and suddenly I was a performer.

The next year I name-dropped a booth name for free admission. Allen Drago's Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries was willing to vouch for us as employees in exchange for helping him take down the giant pavilion at the end of the show, and it was a small price to pay.

During these trips, one or two days a year over the course of my high school career, I made a lot of friends and became closer to ones I already had. I was involved in a lot of adult discussion it had previously been difficult for my teenaged self to engage. And I saw my first hammered dulcimer.

Matt Ableson was the player, who is now an acquaintance of mine. My family is from a dulcimer-playing region of Appalachia, and I later ran across dulcimers there, but my first experience was through what later became my primary venue: the Ren Faire. And I hate to admit it, but my first impression of the instrument was resentment that my girlfriend had a crush on the guy.

To be continued...

On Names

Nov. 14th, 2016 03:19 pm
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Identity is a tricky beast. One of the most fun topics I studied in grad school was the development of group identities, and it's still one of my favourite concepts to read up on. And, of course, there's no purer expression of the conundrum of identity than a name.

I go by a few names, these days. For many years I was exclusively "Vince", militantly even. As a child, I was offended by my grandfather's insistence in calling me "Vincenzo". As an adult I came to embrace "Vincenzo", using it as my SCA monicker as well as during my travels in Italy. In the SCA I wanted a "persona" (character) name that I would remember was me when shouted across a field, and in Italian "Vince" is actually a word ("he wins"). So Vincenzo was the obvious solution in both cases.

Except that Vincenzo was more problematic than it felt. After a few tours in Italy I stopped using it: I had an answer when I'd be asked (pale ginger that I am), "but what is your *real* name", but it took too long to explain my family history. Also, I started traveling in South America, where Vincenzo was a less elegant solution to the "he wins" word problem and where I had no emotional connection to "Vicente". And so I began, for the first time in my life, to embrace "Vincent".

I'm getting to know "Vincent" and growing to like him. It's no different a process than any other name I've adopted, and Mr Van Gogh has done a beautiful job in paving the way. It's easier to make a reservation, in any language, for example, and he feels a little more grown up. I'm still fond of "Vince", which is very much my default, but it's an interesting expansion as I embrace further possibilities entering my forties.

But "Vinnie" is right out.
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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!
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It started with a simple question among friends: do you consider yourself a SCAdian?

For those who don't know, the term refers to a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, and my answer was equivocal: "yes, but with an asterisk".

Identity is a very tricky beast for me, especially since I've woven my own from many disparate strands. There are very few identifiers that I ascribe myself unconditionally, while claiming each as a part of my whole self. Rennie? Asterisk. Busker? Asterisk. North American? Asterisk (growing up among certain Old World Italian rituals left me with a sense of otherness).



The one label to which I could wholeheartedly ascribe, through the course of the conversation, was artist. Part of that is the vagueness of the term itself, but more probably lies in my longstanding efforts to embrace the term. "Artist" is so culturally loaded that I spent years adapting and shaping my conception of the label until I could embrace it as my own.

Apparently those exertions worked, and I can't decide whether I need to expand my efforts to other characterizations or to accept that I'm neither fish nor fowl in the other dimensions.

I'm leaning toward acceptance.
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
I'm back on the road tomorrow. Last week I spent two days in NYC, then four days in Montreal followed by two days outside Boston. It was a mix of social and business, and yet another reminder of how much I enjoy playing medieval dress up in the SCA.

In the morning I drive to Cincinnati by way of the Ohio State music library in Columbus. After an evening with my oldest friend I'll be on to North Carolina for a few house concerts before making another social call in Richmond. Then I'll be spending two days at home visiting my parents before heading to Kitchener, Ontario, for more social time and SCA.

This is my slow season, and I keep myself on the road because that's where I feel most comfortably myself. I'm deeply thankful for the many friends who make it all possible, and are so very welcoming. I really enjoy hanging out, intermixed with research and rehearsal, but I'm also looking forward to my spring kicking into high gear. After I leave Kitchener I'll spend my mom's birthday with family, and then on 2/10 I dive back into the saddle as I head to Italy for three months of busking.

I can hardly wait.
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
Yesterday I went to an SCA event and I had a wonderful time among people I didn't know very well, with three exceptions, but who were very kind to me. I came home inspired and desiring to do more in the SCA, until I looked at the calendar and realized I'm already doing everything my schedule allows.

I brought Isabella, my smallest dulcimer, because I wasn't performing to work, but socially, and her range fits the 16th century dulcimer while having the additional benefit of being incredibly portable. The larger dulcimers work better professionally, because they have a bigger sound and the range to show off my technique, but I've been having a lot of fun working within renaissance period constraints.

One song that I'm thrilled worked on Isabella, with only slight adjustment, is Vincenzo Galilei's Saltarello; it's a favorite piece among classical guitarists and was one of the first tunes I adapted from lute to dulcimer. Vincenzo Galilei was an influential composer but eclipsed by his son Galileo: an inventor of opera loses out when his son helps to invent science. (Have a listen:

It was a very good day, although I left a little early because I was getting worn down socially. It was my first public performance with Isabella and I'm happy to report the experiment was successful. She'll be coming to more SCA events!

Busy day

Nov. 4th, 2014 04:12 pm
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I've been extraordinarily productive today! I sent out a lot of performance inquiries to potential Cleveland-area venues for the winter, I've been doing a lot of academic reading for an SCA research project, and I'm well on my way to memorizing the second half of Bach's Allemande in Em. This evening I'll do some more work on my medieval dulcimer project, to top it all off.
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
My goals for the fall are almost halfway to completion! I have three new pieces performance-ready for Twelfth Night SCA events, with another two transcribed to be learned and a sixth in the queue. With my existing repertoire for authentic period dulcimer, I should have a full hour of material by January.

I've also made a lot of progress on a Pennsic class I want to teach, describing the printing industry in late-period Europe. It's not original research, being a synthesis of secondary sources to give background, but it's a topic that may add context to a lot of sixteenth century research projects.

Things are chugging along nicely, and I'm looking ahead to a classical music project this winter just to mix things up and keep me on my toes!
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
My goal for the week was to transcribe five 14th-century pieces that are appropriate for the 14th century dulcimer, and I have succeeded in four of those: the fifth turned out not to be playable on the instrument in question (but I may be able to fudge it). Still, those four are an excellent start, and I look to start working on the material itself next week.

My goal is to have eight pieces audience-ready by Twelfth Night SCA events, to play a repertoire I can't do much with professionally because it won't sell CDs. One reason I've concentrated so heavily on the 16th century is that it sounds like classical music to modern ears, and isn't nearly as foreign as earlier music often can be.

When your living is your life, it's sometimes tricky to figure out how to make it a hobby as well. I feel good about the choices I'm making here.


Aug. 12th, 2014 10:15 pm
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Pennsic is like nothing else: the closest description I've read was an SCA event meets a renaissance Faire meets Burning Man. And this was my thirteenth in a row.

I went in on Saturday, early. My parents' house is only two hours away, giving me a huge advantage over most everyone else. I stayed until Friday, when I dashed off to open the New York Renaissance Faire, coming back for the second Monday-Friday typically called War Week (it's when stick jocks bash helms).

This one was a particularly good one, I'm almost ashamed to say. Many friends didn't have the experience they'd hoped for, but I was in a camp new to me, with a fantastic group of friends. My Wednesday concert went wonderfully, especially considering I drew up a set list at the coffeehouse (Cafe Merhaba FTW) an hour before curtain. I also played the legendary Casa Bardicci formal party for the first time in years, which was a real pleasure (see attached pictures of the villa).

It flew by, and I'm thrilled to have caught up with so many friends. It's a great venue for playing and a joy for social camping, and I can hardly wait for next year.



Jun. 13th, 2014 02:17 pm
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)

My biggest projects right now are playing note-for-note transcriptions of period music on a modern dulcimer and playing my arrangements of period music that would be playable on a contemporary dulcimer. One benefit of 17th century music is that there's a large overlap between the two, music that can be played exactly as written on a 17th C dulcimer, but my main passion remains in the 16th century.

Still, it's fun to broaden my horizons a bit.

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Wow, what a war.

I very much missed my old campmates at Harpwood Hall, but I understand and sympathize with the reasons it's no more; we had a glorious run and it's time to move on. I found it a little hard getting set up in a new place, especially with Michael Kelly playing Tim's music next door the first night, but House Wild Rose was an incredibly warm and welcoming group.

I divided the War into two distinct sections, the first and second weeks. It helped that I had to go home after four days to get the next stage of my braces, which was thankfully more comfortable than the spacers I'd gotten the week before. The first week was very social, where I spent a lot of time visiting friends old and new. The second was very much a work week, intermixed with social time, and I played several sets a day. I also taught two classes at Pennsic University, and performed a formal stage show in the Performing Arts Pavilion on Wednesday night.

It was a very productive time.

I enjoyed myself very much, pushed myself in a few new directions, and kept many of my favorite busking habits from years past. Thank you very much to everyone who made it such an inspiring event, and I am very much looking forward to next time!

vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
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!
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
I really enjoy the SCA. This will earn me a lot of funny looks from my fellow Renaissance Faire performers because there's an odd culture of resentment between the two groups. Still, I enjoy both for what they have to offer. 

What this past weekend gave me was exactly what I wanted and needed. I performed for several hours a day, and by "performed"I mean rehearsed. I am working up new music for the next album, to be recorded this winter, and I had eight or ten songs that were very rough. They are much less rough now.

There is nothing like performing with an audience to force the best show possible. The subconscious fear of public humiliation means that every note is attended to with much greater care than is normal. Because of this, music gets better faster, and is more quickly memorized.

The problem is that most of my venues rely on me making a positive first impression. When I'm playing for the same hundred people over a four-day period, however, I feel confident that at the end of the weekend they will have a pretty good grip on my skill level. That allows me to take risks, try new material, and in general be more relaxed while still taking the benefits of having an audience.

Plus there is merriment, revelry, and shenanigans all night long :-)


Aug. 16th, 2010 12:28 am
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
Wow, what a war.

For those of you not in the know, Pennsic is a massive medieval recreation event held by the SCA ( every year in Slippery Rock, PA. 11,000 costumed (sorry, garbed) participants, to varying levels of authenticity, get together every August in an event that has as many definitions as attendees.

For me, Pennsic is all about music. I played in the marketplace most days, making new friends and greeting old ones, and busking my way through the event. I was told by two people that I was a key part of their annual Pennsic experience, which made me positively giddy. Another friend mentioned that her daughter, inspired by my example in years past, is now going to college to study music and quotes me when people call her a genius, "no, it's just practice".

My camp holds two largish jam sessions every year, which went swimmingly, especially since the group was formed originally to house professional and semi-professional musicians in a low-pressure but inspiring atmosphere. We had a few impromptu musical moments as well, which were among my favorite parts.

Most especially, Pennsic is a time and place where I can catch up with friends I don't see nearly often enough, in many cases limited to an annual conversation. I'm sorry I didn't see more of everybody, but it was a joy to see as many people as I could and I always look forward to seeing more each year.

I'm looking ahead to the next six months, especially as I'm packing for a trip to Vancouver, and in addition to that destination I'm looking at New York, Boston, Philly, Toronto, New Orleans, Austin, and Greece. My head may spin into orbit, but this itinerary should hold my attention!
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I've been remiss and haven't posted in awhile. To sum up, Pennsic was amazing. Because of the economy, I noticed early on that sales were a little weaker than they had been in the past. Perversely, this allowed me to give myself permission to play a little less. I'm finally maturing to the point where, instead of struggling and pushing myself harder when things are under par, I can make a personal calculation and realize that the time is more valuable to me as vacation than as work. It's still a process, and I'm not nearly there yet, but it gave me the chance to spend wonderful time with very dear friends. Happily, it was still a financial success, just not quite a windfall.

I'm now in Northwestern Canada, in the Alberta city of Edmonton. I'm here to busk at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, Canada's largest and internationally second only to Edinburgh's. I had an excellent experience here two years ago, in 2007, and as I wandered the city after arriving it truly hit me what a pleasure it was to return. One of the greatest joys I have in my life is exploring new places, but even greater is the chance to reacquaint myself with a place I've already loved.

Yesterday morning was a Fringe busker ritual - the line for passes. The Fringe sells a limited number of passes to street perform in tandem with scheduled outdoor stage shows and indoor theatrical shows, and because it's first-come-first-served the line starts forming much earlier than the 10:00 beginning. Since we all get there early - I was there at 6:30, quite comfortably due to two hours of jet-lag - there is a lot of time to socialize and hang out. I spent a lot of time with some friends I made last time around, as well as using the opportunity to make new friendships I hope to cement over the next ten days.
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It's almost time to leave, finally.  I'm no longer hypothetically gathering things together to weigh for baggage, but actually packing.  Part of this started long ago; before leaving for Seattle I set aside the shirts coming to Italy in order to avoid wearing them in hopes that doing so will give me more time before I tire of them.  During my last trip I made a list of things I wished I'd brought and now I'm gathering those as well.  Paying bills, organizing everything to be left behind, and running final errands rounds out my to-do list.  Tomorrow I get to make the calls to pause my cellphone and auto insurance until May.

Exciting stuff, huh?  To liven things up I went to an SCA event yesterday in Canton, Ohio.  It's the first Ohio event I've been to in years, since I conceded that group of friends to my ex-wife in the divorce.  Since she was running a Cincinnati event that day, however, I figured we wouldn't run into each other.

I had a fantastic time!  I saw some friends I hadn't expected to run into, as well as some I'd been hoping to see there.  I basically played music all day, which felt wonderful.  I've been so focused on the trip and studio editing that I hadn't actually played the dulcimer in over a week, and it was great to bang the rust off of my technique.  It also never hurts to have a really positive experience right before heading into uncertainty.

It was such a good experience that I think I'm going to make a point of playing a little more in the SCA.  I keep saying that (pretty much every time I go to an event, in fact), but this time I hope it can happen.  I think that three years of conceding to Becky one of our hobbies (although I've continued in Canada) is enough and it's time for us both to grow up and move on.
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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!
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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.

August 2017

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