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Tom Courtney

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The Librarians [Jan. 25th, 2015|01:03 am]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

I've absolutely loved this show, and watch it with an avidness I don't think I've had since Star Trek (TOS). Having said that, I missed last week's finale because I was at Arisia, but when I decided to be snowed in today instead of Birka, I watched it instead.

Avast, mateys! There be spoilers ahead!Collapse )

I hope they get renewed for another season. I think the odds are pretty good.

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The perils of centralization [Jan. 21st, 2015|05:43 pm]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Not that this cat is likely to be put back in the bag, but the whole BoD decision about fencing would never have been needed if peerage-level awards weren't "Society-wide". That added layer of abstraction doesn't actually get us much, and as in the case with the fencers, causes problems.

The reasons generally given for making peerages SCA-wide are consistency across kingdoms and as an aid for folks who move around. Both, I think, are illusions. If I were a Knight Of The East, and moved to Caid tomorrow, that place would recognize me as an Eastern Knight, just like they do for every other award I may have earned here. The knights there would either accept me or not, pretty much dependant on my behavior in the kingdom - which is the de facto state of affairs now. In general, I think visiting foreigners are accorded extra respect in their travels, lest one give offense, and immigrants start with a presumed benefit of the doubt, but then generally have to prove themselves.

I will note, in passing, that every time I've heard a knight claim he was a "Knight Of The Society", rather than a "Knight Of His Kingdom", he was trying to talk me into doing something he might not have thought he had the standing to ask of me otherwise. While this is a mildly useful shortcut, I think that in all the cases where I'd decide to do what was asked, taking the chance and actually making the case for the action would have worked just as well.

I see two chief benefits in revamping the peerage awards to be kingdom-level. First, it mirrors period-practice more closely. There were hundreds of knighthood-orders all over the place, and the fact that you were in the Order Of St. Lazarus didn't automatically put you in the Confraternity of Belchite or make you a Brother Of The Sword or an Argonaut Of St. Nicholas. But that you were in one was a decent calling card for the others (well, for the others that existed in the same time - orders went in and out of existence over the course of history). Second, it gives the kingdoms latitude to make what peerages they would, in whatever fashion seems best to them. In such a scheme, each kingdom makes such peerages as seems reasonable to them, and we don't have to worry about a solution that's good for New York and bad for New Orleans being rammed down whomever's scheme lost out.

While one could just make a kingdom-level order for any activity we like now, as a practical matter, it is not the same. People are finely tuned to notice status differences, and I expect that no matter how much one says that in our kingdom, we mean this to be the same, the recipients would not be convinced - nor should they be. I think the only way to get equality is to actually make the different solutions equal. :)

Now the bad part of decentralization is that one might live in a kingdom which doesn't have the award you want for the thing you do. That part is definitely sad-making, but in practice, not much different than if such awards were imposed from above - for example, the Atlantian Order Of Chivalry has one Master Of Arms, and it was an import from the East.

Like I said at the start, I don't think this is a particularly viable solution now - I expect that convincing folks that pushing the peerage awards down to the kingdom level is not a degradation of status would be a well-nigh impossible task. But it might be worth thinking through the ramifications, in case that helps with crafting a solution of some sort in the situation we actually find ourselves in.

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taking advantage of the 21st century [Jan. 15th, 2015|02:27 pm]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

We've been having problems with our front door lock, so I've ordered us a keyless entry lock on the advice of my friend Jamey. Now, everyone in the house will be able to get in and out of the house as long as they have their cell phone with them. As a bonus, I'm going to be able to ditch my keys for Rick & Libby and Jamey and Sarah's place in Chicago (you folks really need to come up with a clever name for the place) if they end up giving me an electronic pass for the app.

We're going to key the current house key to the new lock, so all the keys out there will still work but I'm certainly going to be willing to give anyone who has a key to our place an electronic pass.

Now if only the door would swoosh and slide open as I tried to walk through it, I'd be one happy trekfan.

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last of this year's Christmas traditions has been observed [Jan. 12th, 2015|07:17 pm]
Tomorrow is the first refuse pickup after 12th Night. Our tree is now bereft of ornaments and sitting on the front walk.

Hopefully, I'll manage to keep Christmas through the year, even sans tree.

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Ah, that explains it [Jan. 12th, 2015|04:52 am]
[mood |embarrassedembarrassed]

I gave Edward some bad advice. Apparently, someone changed EK law when I wasn't looking. :)

Anyway, in Ze Olde Days, though they were referred to as "royalty", the prince and princess weren't actually considered to be such for purposes of rights and privileges. That was pretty much intentional - originally, the Prince Was Just This Guy, you know? We didn't even always call him the prince - to distinguish, at least in the East, the heirs were sometimes referred to as Tanist and Tanista. Indeed, we sort of relied on our definition of royalty on corpora, which is very specific about the status of the consorts not actually being "royal". Whether the latter construction is even remotely correct, I have no idea - I'm sure Steven has an opinion, if you do. :)

Anyway, over the years, people accorded more and more rights and responsibilities on the position. Might be a good thing, might not. In this case, I think it has an unintended consequence in connection with another rule - that one can't bring a court of chivalry on royalty. This was done for the very practical reason that the monarchs take the results and pretty much get to do with them what they would, and so such courts would be useless.

Obviously, that logic doesn't apply in the case of the heirs. My guess is whomever made the change in status for them didn't think that through, though of course, as I don't know who did it, I couldn't actually tell you.

Anyway, sorry about that Edward. I told you something not true, and that I should have studied more carefully before speaking. Since I'm actually required to give you the advice, it really behooves me to make it accurate, even if "good" is a sort of point of view thing.

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Move over, Steve Austin [Jan. 6th, 2015|12:54 pm]
[mood |highhigh]

In my slow-moving quest to overtake the Six Million Dollar Man in my lifetime, I had six tooth implants put in my upper jaw yesterday. Now things have to heal for five months or so, and then I can be rid of this stupid denture, and stop feeling old again.

But today at least, I'm still going to be a bit loopy from the vicodin. I'm taking less of it than yesterday, but I'm still taking it. We'll see about tomorrow.

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gaming Saturday [Jan. 1st, 2015|09:51 pm]
[mood |bouncybouncy]

There will be gaming at Melville Keep starting at 16:00 on Saturday. We'll break for dinner around 19:30. The Friedmans are here, so if you'd like to drop by to socialize with them, you're welcome as well.

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wake up call [Dec. 28th, 2014|11:21 pm]
[mood |embarrassedembarrassed]

I try to exercise everyday. Besides normal activities, I do most of the PT morning workout from when I was in Basic Training. Jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups. In general, I'm pretty happy - I've progressed to the point that I do twice as many of those as I did at the end of Basic. Today, tentatively, I added in the last bit: 6 count jumping jacks.

I did 5. Very slowly, and looking very much like a whale who'd taken up hang-gliding. Really, my body just doesn't move that way anymore. It wasn't that I was particularly tired, but that I just couldn't keep my balance anymore. Clearly, that's got to change.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to do 6. We'll see.

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gaming Saturday [Dec. 26th, 2014|10:00 pm]
[mood |contentcontent]

There will be gaming here at Melville Keep starting at 18:00. All are welcome. I suspect there'll be food. :)

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Christmas dinner [Dec. 26th, 2014|07:36 pm]
[mood |contentcontent]

The final tally of guests was 18. I had hoped for 19, but our perrenial no-show didn't show again. (You know who you are. :) ) I think everyone had a reasonably good time.

Here was the menu:

piragis bacon rolls optionally with onion or other fillings
solstice cheese
sklandrussis rye tarts filled with mashed carrot, mashed potato, and sour cream, topped with cinimmon
kielbasa
potato salad with egg, beets, onion, and herring (some without).
mushroom and potato soup
fish casserole cod with onion and carrot in a tomato sauce, served cold
red cabbage
pork roast
sauer kraut cooked with oil and sugar
peach pie with cream cheese
cranberry kissel basically cold fruit soup
alexander torte 19th century high-end pop-tarts
chocolate cake
various cookies

beer
glogg
wine
sparkling cider

For some reason, I've always had very good luck with fish at these things - the casserole was the best I could imagine it to be. Once again, I'm pretty sure none of the guests left hungry. :)

ETA: oh yeah, there were two kinds of bread. Store-bought Baltic dark rye, which is essentially a very dense pumpernickel, and a home-made rye bread.

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