Saturday, November 21, 2009

Over a year, surprised the account still exists

Depression is a funny thing (funny weird, not funny haha).
It's been a truly crappy week. One of my good friend's (and Knight's) father passed away. He ran down to Florida to take care of his mother, and although it was mostly expected, it doesn't make the loss any easier. He's back home now, and looking for distractions to occupy his time until next weekend's memorial service at which point he fully expects to lose it completely.
In addition, and on a much smaller scale in the grand scheme of things, my wife and I made the decision to put our cat to sleep yesterday. This has been a long time coming. Earlier this year, the cat started having bowel problems. She couldn't control when or where she had a movement. We took her to the vet and we were told that she had an infestation of fleas and a tape worm. My wife gave our cat the necessary medicine and started bathing her weekly. This went on for several months. Then, after seemingly no improvement, we took her back to the vet the day before Pennsic. We weren't sure during this visit if we were going to put her down, or if there was something else we could do (although we were leaning towards putting her down). The vet told us, that the flea medication that we had used the first time wasn't the best for the job, and because the fleas weren't dealt with, there was still a tapeworm(s). This made us feel like we hadn't truly tried our best to fix the problem. So, we then bought several doses of Advantage flea control, and we were given another dose of medicine for the tapeworm. Well, it's been three more months. The cat (Mia was her name) continued to get worse. She lost more weight, and continued to have problems making messes all over the house. She wasn't able to keep herself clean and because of this, she smelled horrible. We couldn't trust her not to make a mess wherever she was, and frankly, it wasn't like we wanted to get close to her because of the smell. She ceased to be a pet about a month ago (if not longer). So, when I got paid this week, we decided that we could afford to properly put her down. We took her to the vet yesterday, and at about 2:00 pm she went to sleep one last time.
I wept like a little girl.
Mia was one of the first things we did when we moved into our house together. Less than two months after we moved in, I decided I wanted a pet. So, the week of thanksgiving in 1998, my wife and I went to the Humane Society and started looking at cats (I wanted a dog, but my wife had never had a pet, and cats are generally easier to care for), we found Mia. Actually, she found me. As we were looking through all the cages of cats, when I looked at Mia's cage, she threw herself at the front of the cage just wanting me to pet her and love her. My wife knew at that moment that it was over, the choice had been made, and there wasn't much she was going to do to change my mind.
It's funny because over the years, Mia became more her pet than mine. Mia had a little bell on her collar, and it was the constant noise of that bell and her movements that told us we were never alone in the house. I know it's corny, but it's how I felt. She had always been a part of our home, and now she's not, and that's taking some getting used to. As I walk, when I hear my keys jingle in my pocket, there's a part of my brain that wonders if it's Mia coming around the corner. Of course she's not, but that doesn't stop my brain from trying to figure out if she is.
In the exam room yesterday, I was "mostly" okay, right up until my wife told Mia that she should rest now, and then she told Mia to go find Brick, and play with him the way she used to. For those that don't know, Brick was my Rottweiler who we lost to bone cancer 7 years ago. Mia and Brick used to "play". We would throw a ball for Brick, and he would run across the living room to get it. On the return trip, Mia would reach her paw out from the stairway door and trip Brick as ran back to us. It was hysterical watching a 10 pound cat trip up a 135 pound dog. Well, when my wife conjured up that image, I truly lost it. My wife then explained that in her mind, both pets were still part of our family, and on some level, the family would all be together again someday. That's more spiritual than either of us normally gets, but it was a nice thought.
There are other things going on in my life right now, some good, some bad. I have a thesis topic. I don't know that I'll finish it. The SCA is neither good nor bad right now. Work is work. However, tonight, I really wanted to type up some memories of Mia. It's been over a year since I typed up one of these "sign posts", but I thought this deserved one.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Right, so here we go...

Can it really be that I've let this go since June? The short answer? Yes, it's been since June.
A lot has gone on since then. There was an entire Pennsic War that has come and gone, and now seems like a distant memory. There was another Crown Tournament this past weekend. My daughter has started Daycare (and has been there almost two months). And....I still haven't truly started my thesis (some things never change).
First, let's talk a little bit about Pennsic. Once again, I was given the honor of serving on my Kingdom's unbelted champions team. This year I was only an alternate due to the fact that instead of the regular 15 man teams that we fielded in the past, this year they decided to only have 10 man teams. As it turns out, I was an alternate, but our team captain made it a point to rotate the alternates through so I did get a chance to fight in one of the seven bouts. The big news is that this year, we were victorious. Our Kingdom's unbelt team won the tournament and I was a small part of that. It felt good.
As part of a reward for how we did in the unbelt tourney, every member of the team (including the alternates) were given a "slot" on one of the other big tournies of the War. There is a battle known as the "Allied Champions" battle. There are basically two sides in the War (the East vs. the Middle), and each side gathers up a collection of fighters from all of their allies and puts together a rather large team (in this case it was either 60 or 75 per side, I forget). We then play a rather large, hard fought game of capture the flag (for the geeks among you, think about Unreal Tournament). For 45 minutes, we try to beat the living heck out of each other, and capture the other teams flag and get it back to our "home point". It's a completely modern construct, but it is a whole lot of fun. It is, however, the hardest and most brutal fighting that I have ever been a part of. The chin strap on my helm broke halfway through the fight, but I kept fighting anyway (that was a stupid risk I shouldn't have taken, but it was an honor to be asked to be part of that team and I'll be damned if I was going to leave the field because of one damned strap).
The other big news from War is that after nearly two full years, my blog title is once again absolutely accurate. I have once again entered into the role of squire to one of the local Knights. I have actually been working with this Knight for a few years now, and I wanted to get "back on the path" and truly start trying to improve my fighting again. He is a Knight that I respect greatly and I also happen to like the members of his household. It has been good for me, but at the same time, it has taken a lot of time away from other things. I have been working out on "pell work" (think of a heavy bag for boxing, it's that type of exercise for sword and shield) three times a week since I got back from Pennsic. It has helped tremendously. There was an event in early September that I normally attend (it's the same event that I hurt my elbow at last year if you've been reading for awhile). I went into that tourney with the idea that I had something new to show. Well, I won't go into the gory details (it was a round robin fight, with two separate pools of fighters, eight fighters to a pool which meant 7 fights). I had only two loses in my pool (which meant I actually defeated a Knight or two). That was good enough to get me into the semi-finals. Out of 16 fighters, I was in the top four. I lost my semi-final bout, but I was really happy with my performance.
Last weekend was the Fall Crown Tournament. It was 5 and a half hours away. I drove there and once again, I wanted to show people that I have been working on my fighting. Well, the list had 14 fighters on it. 10 of those were Knights. Because the list was relatively small (you need at least 16 for a decent double elimination tourney, think March Madness), Their Majesties decided that the format for the tournament would be a full round robin. That meant 13 fights. I had to fight everyone (that includes the 10 Knights). I came out of the day 6 wins and 7 loses. I defeated 5 Knights in a Crown Tournament level fight. One of my victories was against one of my favorite Dukes (twice King). He was the Duke that I typed about almost two years ago that told me to be aggressive in my fighting and to not let my opponent control the fight. He was actually really proud of me for defeating him. I am really proud of my performance last weekend, and I've been told that several people noticed.
This upcoming weekend, I have my Challenge against the World. My friend and I have asked anyone and everyone to come fight us at an event. We'll see how it goes. If I survive, I'll report back later.
As I stated, my daughter has been in Daycare now for almost two months. It means her mother gets to sleep during the day, but at the same time, it means that I have to basically figure out how to pay the equivalent of another mortgage each month. It's expensive, but it has been worth it. She is talking more, and she has been building a really impressive vocabulary. That is both good and bad. She has also taken to repeating the words that she hears mommie and daddie use. Tonight I was speaking to my wife about something frustrating and I said "dammit". Well, my lovely little daughter then repeated in perfect English "dammit!" My wife got a huge giggle out of this. Between the two of us, she swears much more often than I do. She was certain that our daughter's first swear word would be based around something my wife said. Nope. I get that honor. My daughter's first swear word went straight from my mouth to hers. Kids say the darnedest things!
Well, if anyone is reading this, I'm sure that I've bored you more than enough. There's more going on in regards to work, home, life, school you name it, but when you take nearly 4 months between blog posts, well a lot is bound to happen. I'll type more later, but who knows when that will be...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And now for something completely different...

...Actually, it will probably be more of the same.

This is usually where I say it's been way too long.

"It's been way too long!"

Now that that is out of the way I can move on.

So, what's been going on? Good question. I wish I had a good answer. I've been putting off doing my thesis because I have no earthly idea how to do a thesis. I have a rough idea of what the topic will be, now I need to do some honest to god research. You know, that means documenting what you read and where you read it. I've never been all that good at that kind of research. I've always been more of a read everything at once while trying to learn everything I can. I've never really worried about where I read what, or who said what where. I just read it all and let the ideas simmer in my head for awhile as I try to come to some form of understanding. This whole bit about having to write stuff down goes completely against my learning style. As one of my professors (the one who I'd like to be my thesis advisor), "Get over it!"

My daughter (I can't really call her my "baby" girl anymore, she's almost two and well into toddler mode, but she'll always be my "baby" girl on some level) is running around all over the place. She's climbing stairs upright now, and doing her best to overcome gravity at every turn. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes there are some scraps and bruises. We signed her up for daycare this week, but she won't start until we get back from Pennsic. This is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I want my wife to be able to get some sleep. I want us to have access to the gym (we're putting her into the "YMCA" daycare, and it's cheaper if you're a member), but at the same time, I'm a little concerned about turning over my daughter to someone else to raise. The Y does this all the time and they have a really good reputation in town for being an excellent daycare. That doesn't change the fact that I'm concerned.

As for the SCA...I'm doing the best I can to find some joy. There's another gentleman who happens to be a foster squire to the Knight I primarily train with. He and I try to keep each other motivated when the chips are down. Two years ago, he hatched a plan. It was a cunning plan, it was a subtle plan (Baldric, you wouldn't know a subtle plan if it stripped naked, painted itself purple and....sorry tangent). It was his idea that he and I would challenge the world. We would setup a list field and a couple pavilions at an event, and challenge anyone to come fight us for the sheer joy of it. Well, two years ago, my wife was weeks away from giving birth. That meant the plan got shelved. This past week, I took it out, dusted it off, considered it, wrote out a formal challenge to everyone, saved it as a draft and emailed it to him for his review. He read it. Then he called me a bastard for remembering it. Then he said he was in. So, sometime this Fall, at an event that takes place right about equi-distant between the two of us, we will set our camp, and hold the field against all comers for about 6 hours straight. It's going to kill both of us, but it'll be a heck of a lot of fun.

I'll type more later. Take care world.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Checking In

Hey Gang!

Once again, it's been too long so I suppose I should probably write something. Things are hectic as always, but I won't say busy because that annoys one of my readers (you know who you are!). I'm finishing up my web "class" which has really just been me reading various books and abusing old friends into coming over and showing me how to do this whole web development thing. It has been a fascinating journey, and I've actually learned quite a bit, but what I've learned most of all is that I don't want to be a web developer. I have always respected them, but now, even more so. What these guys and gals are able to do with the digital medium is nothing short of amazing.

My last major task for the web project I'm working on is securing an administrative directory within the website. I've read about a hundred online tutorials about how to use .htaccess and .htpasswd and I really do understand how they are supposed to work. The problem is that the website I'm working on is hosted on GoDaddy and while they have an amazingly inexpensive service, they don't necessarily do things the way everyone else does. I tried configuring the security the way all the online tutorials told me to, and that didn't work. Then I find out that GoDaddy has recently (as in within the last three months) published a new utility on their "hosting manager" website that supposedly configures everything for you. So I delete all the files I've tried to create manually, and I use their GUI to secure it. Well, that didn't work either. So I remove all the settings, start from scratch and try again. Guess what? Still no good. Finally, I decide to call tech support. I find out that they don't have an 800 number, but they do have a long distance number you can call. I called it and waited on hold for half an hour (using their long distance number). I got a perfectly pleasant, non-accent, English speaking person on the phone. I explain my situation, and he and I test a few links and he determines that it's not working correctly (thanks genius). He tells me that since they don't support custom .htaccess files that it's not truly covered by support. I stop him right there and tell him that I didn't use a custom file. I used THEIR interface to create THEIR file from THEIR admin pages. He asks me to wait on hold while he checks this out (long distance). After about 10 minutes, he comes back and says that he spoke with some other techs and they said that I should remove the settings I created and try creating them again. I stop him right there and ask him if it would help to know that I have tried removing and creating these settings using THEIR interface two or three times already and it still isn't working as advertised. He asks me to wait while he talks to people again (long distance). After about 10 minutes, he comes back and tells me that he is going to have to escalate this call and open a ticket and if I could just patiently wait (long distance) while he typed in the information, he would get my ticket processed. After another 10 minute wait, he came back on and informed me that it will take 24 to 48 hours before someone will even look at the problem and that they will contact me via email when they have something to tell me. We part company with pleasantries. He was a very nice individual, and we were both calm and polite during the entire call. I just wish that their online utility did what it advertised, and I wish I wasn't put on hold so often for so long, but I've been on the flip side of that call, and I know what he was going through, so I can't really blame him (much). I just can't believe they don't have an 800 number. Hopefully, I will have a solution soon so that I can put this whole web development thing behind me.

In other news, there was a really large SCA event this past weekend, and this upcoming weekend is the next Crown Tourney (yes, I'm fighting in it), but this post is now way beyond long enough, and I'll type more about the SCA stuff later (probably after Crown, so everybody wish me luck).

Monday, March 17, 2008

I have returned... Dag is wondering where I've been, I guess I can give somewhat of an answer.

I was on crusade. A friend of mine and I drove down to Lumberton, Mississippi to attend the 17th annual Gulf Wars. I was down there for a week. The trip down was absolutely awful. We drove through Columbus, Ohio right as they were getting 27" of snow. We planned on doing the drive in two days. It was our hope to drive for about 12 hours the first day and about 5 hours the second day. Well, it took us all 12 hours the first day to make it through the first 7 hours of the trip so the second day wound up being much longer than we had originally anticipated. We arrived safe and sound and setup camp on Sunday evening. By the end of the day we were both ready to just rack out and call it a day.

On the second day (Monday) there was a Ravine battle. Basically, it was a fight in a small wooded depression about 100 ft wide by 300 ft long. This battle was taking place before the formal war had started so there were only about 60 to 70 people there. Turns out that me and my friend were the only ones representing our Kingdom during this fight so we attached ourselves to the Kingdom of Trimaris (Florida area folks) and had a wonderful day of fighting and fun. When we got back to camp, other people from our Kingdom were just arriving. In all there were maybe 12-16 of us down there.

On Tuesday, there was a friendship fort battle. They have a wooden "castle" at the event site that we are able to fight around and through. This day was also a smaller fight with about 100 on a side. Again, I had fun, but I felt a little alone. The people who showed up from our Kingdom were people that I knew, but they were mostly their own little clique' so my friend and I were mostly left to our own devices.

The rest of the week there were several battles (another ravine, a "town" battle, a bridge battle, open field battles and finally another fort battle (but we didn't stay for that). This war is about half the size of Pennsic. In total, somewhere around 6000 people usually show up for this one, and if rumors are to be believed, this year, it was only about 4000. I'd say we never had more than 1000 on the field, but that is a really rough estimate. I fought sword and shield for almost the entire time (although I did fight spear for one battle, and that showed me why I normally fight sword and shield). Due to the heat and the fact that I am totally out of shape, I never fought any pick up fights (which is a shame because that was one of my goals going down there).

The trip was ultimately worth it. I had a good time, and being away from work was a good thing. However, I found that I was more homesick this time than the past two times that I've attended this war (might have something to do with the baby). I'm also questioning how much I enjoy fighting anymore. I have found that recently, I haven't been getting any better. If I made it a priority, and dedicated all of my time to it, than maybe, just maybe, I might get better. However, with my daughter and several other things going on, I need to remember why it's fun and try to figure out how important it is. At this rate, I'm not sure that I'll ever be Knighted. I will have to work A LOT harder if I ever really expect it. In order for that to happen, I need to finish off my academic program and re-dedicate the time to fighting. Also, in order to focus, I may need to think about becoming a squire again formally. I'm not sure when that will be, but if I am to continue down the "knightly" path, I think it's a step I may need to take. This time last year, I was winning tournaments and enjoying the fight. I haven't felt that joy the past several times in armour. Where is that joy? What is it that made me joyful? How do I regain that spark?

While I was away, there was a major fighting event in my home Kingdom. A friend of mine attended it. I emailed him and asked him how it went. He responded and I could feel the joy from just reading his email response. I miss having that enthusiasm in myself. He had a wonderful day fighting. He didn't win every bout, but he had some really good runs and he was very excited that he had back to back victories against two knights (sounds familiar, I'm sure if I read all my back posts I'd find some similar stories from myself. Possibly from the same event last year. Matter of fact, I'm sure of it). I'm going to see him tomorrow night. Hopefully, I'll get all the details from him then.

On a good note (sort of), I have now lost about 40 pounds from where I was. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas I was 320 pounds or so. I weighed myself when I got back from the war last night, and I weighed 278. I'm fairly proud of that. I'm sure that won't be my consistent weight. That was coming off of a week of extensive activity and a fairly consistent diet that had a breakfast and dinner (I usually don't eat breakfast so my system was probably confused). I'd love it if I could continue to lose the weight. If I could consistently get down to 265 I'd be thrilled. I'd be even happier if I could see myself below 250, but I think that may be a dream at this point. I will continue to try to be aware of what I'm eating and I need to continue to strenuously exercise. If I could do that alone, it would probably help my fighting (not to mention my actual health).

Well, I think that's enough of an update for now. I'll try to write more later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What to say.....?

I don't know exactly what to say, but I figure it's been long enough, that if anyone even still bothers to check, I should write something. So let's cover the basics: work, school, SCA and home life.

Work has picked up. They are finally starting to utilize me, and that feels good. I still have an amazing amount of do nothing time, but that's more my choice than theirs as there are projects I could be working on, but I'm avoiding them. We've been building up to a major server redo (bringing a server up from Windows 2000 to Windows 2003 and SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005). That started today and will take most of this week (and most of Saturday) to get worked out and cut back over. So far it's going well (knock on wood), but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to fall. I've read several articles that have suggested waiting until the next full release of SQL before upgrading, but the powers that be are worried about Microsoft discontinuing support of SQL 2000 sometime this year so we are going ahead with the upgrade. It's only one of our servers, but it's a major one, and we're using this time to also test our Disaster Recovery methods (databases being passed to a virtualized server from backups and changing ODBC drivers on client machines, it's a relatively painless solution).

School. Well, what can I say about school? I'm down to two requirements. I need to work my way through an individualized instruction of a web development class, and I need to do my thesis. The web class is killing me. It's something I've never done. It was the one thing that I was looking forward to learning in the whole program, and now I have to take it as an independent study! I think I really would have preferred a classroom environment on this one. I suck at the web! I always really appreciated the talent that the guys at my old job had for putting together websites. They had an artistic eye, and they knew how to make the tags do what they wanted them to. I, decidedly, do NOT have an artistic eye, and I can't make the damn tags do anything I want them to. To top it off, I'm basically trying to learn all this stuff on my own. Thanks to one friend, he pointed me to which has been a wonderful resource. If I've learned anything, it's thanks to that site. As for my thesis, well, I've had some preliminary discussions via email with the professor who I would like to be my thesis advisor, and I'm going to try and have a literary review completed prior to the end of February. I'm not sure whether or not I can get the thesis done by the end of the semester, but I'm going to try.

SCA. Yeah, more of the same. Last Sunday was a practice. Now, I've been riding the exercise bike in the basement three to four times a week since the begining of the year. I was hoping that my stamina would have increased, but it didn't. I got the chance to honestly teach for a little while at the begining of practice. I showed someone the basics of the "wrap" shot. Imagine throwing a sword blow at someone's leg, then at the last moment, you turn your wrist and rotate the sword so that you hit them with the back blade instead of the front of the blade. What you wind up doing is hitting the person in the back of the leg with the sword instead of the front or side. That's the basic of a "wrap". There are several variations, and I showed someone most of what I knew about them. There were three Knights standing there, watching me teach this person, and they didn't interupt to say that I was wrong on anything, and one of them actually said that I was a good teacher. I was pretty happy about that.

The first half of practice I faced some of the same people I always face. I wasn't happy with my performance at all. Halfway through practice though, something interesting happened. A group of 5 or 6 fighters from a neighboring barony showed up. I actually got a chance to fight some people who I don't fight all the time. I did fairly well against them. One thing I did wrong though. I faced their toughest competitor last. I was completely out of gas when I was fighting him, and he tore me up hard. They said that they were planning on coming out again sometime. I'll have to make sure I fight that guy first. They were all very friendly, and seemed like great people to have around. I look forward to crossing swords again.

On a completely different topic related to the SCA, I've had another example of how me saying "I suck" (which I do) can effect other people. On one of the online forums I read, someone asked the question "What are your goals". One of the Knights responded that he wanted to

"Each day I ask that I can keep
fooling my squires and everyone else
for just one more day. "

Now, this is a Knight who I respect greatly. His presentation on the field is perfect. He is humble. He is witty. He is soft spoken. He is honorable. This Knight is the example in our Kingdom for what it is to be Knightly. When I read that he thought he needed to fool people, I nearly screamed. I typed a response to the forum, but I thought that would be too public. I began to type an email response to him personally, but I shouldn't question his own opinion of himself, but I was honestly mad at him for not seeing in himself, what everyone else sees every time he takes the field or talks to you (then another light bulb went off....hmmmm....maybe I might be a wee bit too hard on myself as well). I'm not sure if he drinks, but I owe him a beer. I want to sit by a campfire and tell him all the wonderful images and stories I know of him. I want to reassure him of what I and many others feel. That he is truly a Knight.

I know this is getting long, but bear with me. One or two more stories to tell about the SCA. Twice within the last month, I have been complimented by people in a way that touched me deeply. I was riding in a car with one of our "newer" fighters (he's been fighting a year and a half, and he is far from a newbie). I stated that I would like to get Knighted someday. He said that he would like to see that. I asked him what it mattered to him. He told me that I was one of the people who represented the best of what a knight should be (I'm paraphrasing here). He said that I was kind with everyone. I was generous with everyone. I was willing to train anyone. He said that I had impressed him and that he was trying to follow MY example in how to deal with people. He has no idea how much that touched me.

The other story, was completely unexpected. On that same online forum I mentioned earlier, a user from my Kingdom posted a question. He asked, in each Kingdom, who are the unbelts that best represent Knighthood without considering prowess. In other words, who are the guys that if they could get their prowess up to snuff would make excellent Knights. Several names, from several kingdoms were mentioned and discussed, and no one from our Kingdom responded. The gentleman who originally posted the question responded that he was surprised that no one from our Kingdom responded, so he would let people know who he was thinking of when he asked the question. He said that the one person that came to mind for him from our Kingdom was me. I was literally blown away! This is a guy who I spent some time with maybe 15 years ago back when I was in college. He lives on the other side of the Kingdom from me, and I haven't had any consistent contact with him since then. I've seen him on the side of the field, and I've always been pleasant, but I can't for the life of me figure out how I made that impression on him. I stood a little taller that day. I owe him some scotch (I'm pretty sure he prefers it to beer). I guess, in one way or another, I've made an impression on some people. The lesson to take away from all of this is that maybe, just maybe I could be a Knight if I could get my stuff together on the fighting side of life.

Finally, the home life. My daughter is now almost 17 months old (I can't believe that). She's walking all over the place. She's climbing stairs. She's exerting her independence (this is a bad sign, she's not even two and she wants to be independent). She's also clumsy as all get out. She is constantly falling face first into our hardwood floors. She currently has two nice sized goose eggs on her forehead. I know this is a phase, and that she will eventually find her balance and grace (God I hope so, I really don't want people thinking I beat my kid!). I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't care how bad a day I've had, if I come home and see her smile, and hear her giggle, the rest of the world just doesn't matter. Two weekends ago, we were at a baby shower for some friends of ours who are adopting a child. It was more of a big party than a baby shower. They held it in a fire hall. Anyway, at one point, my daughter was overly tired. I sat Indian style on the floor, wrapped her in a blanket, put her in my lap and gently rocked her. It was a cold concrete floor, and my legs soon fell asleep. The pins and needles were killing me, but if my daughter was going to let me hold her there, I wasn't moving for anything. I wouldn't give that moment up. Those moments make me smile and warm my heart.

Sorry it's such a long post. I should really write more often (and more focused). If you've read this far, then you're crazy. I've come to realize that this blog is as much for me as it is for anyone else. It puts some sign posts in my mind that can direct me back to fond memories when I go back and read. Thanks for taking an interest in my memories.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays

It's been awhile since my last post. I have some things to update.

First, I finished off the semester. I hated doing the final projects, but they got done. I finished with my 4.0 average in tact. That's primarily due to a professor who gave me a gift. I'm not sure why he did it, but he did and so I still have my 4.0. I'm actually very happy about that. This leaves me with one web development independent study and my thesis. I really have to figure out what I'm going to do for my thesis. I've asked at work if there are any projects that would qualify and there are one or two promising ones so I guess we'll just have to see. For right now, I'm going to try and concentrate on some other things for awhile.

As for the SCA and my fighting....that gets a little more complex. There are no grades to tell you how you are doing so it's difficult at best to figure out how to judge how you are doing. At the beginning of 2007, I was at the best I had ever been. I even won a few tournaments and apparently I somehow manged to inspire a few people at the same time. It was a wonderful feeling. I haven't felt good about my fighting in three or more months. I have slipped. I know my fighting is nowhere near where it was a year ago. That's a tough pill to swallow. There are reasons for this, of course. I was in the toughest semester yet in school. I had started a new job. I didn't have the time to work on it. Use it or lose it, and I have now almost completely lost it. The problem is, I now have to figure out whether or not that actually bothers me. The winter in our Kingdom is usually pretty slow event wise. There aren't a whole lot of tournies and there are less practices than in the warmer months (people generally have trouble finding indoor fighting sites). Because of this, my SCA life has been severely limited. I'm now trying to figure out how much I've missed it (or indeed if I've missed it at all). Hopefully, now that school isn't taking all my time, after the holidays I'll be able to get back to a more regular fighting and practice schedule. It's my hope that then I can find some motivation somewhere to get myself back to where I was last spring and summer.

As added motivation, Her Royal Highness (the current Crown Princess of our Kingdom) asked me last weekend to be a member of her guard. This is a honor for up and coming fighters. It will be the third time that I've been on a Royal Guard (one time as the Captain of the Guard). Each time was fairly motivational, so I'm hoping it helps again. In addition to that, a good friend of mine and I are planning on making the trip to Gulf Wars in Mississippi this year. It's a War that happens in March that is about half the size of the Pennsic War. It's a lot of fun and has a completely different atmosphere from Pennsic. It's much more relaxed. Because we are so far from home, there aren't any expectations when you're down there. We're also trying to motivate a few additional fighters to come down with us. It makes for a great road trip. I really hope we can pull it off.

My wife and I are desperately trying to get ready for the Holidays. The problem is, her work is asking her to come in both days this weekend. On top of that, I'm not feeling well. It is going to make it very difficult for us to get our shopping done for our daughter. We want to make Christmas special for our little girl, but as I've stated in previous posts, we aren't really big on holidays in general so it's kinda foreign for us. We actually got a tree up this year, and my princess is doing really well with it. She hasn't been pulling things off the tree or misbehaving in any way. We had an easier time with her than we did with the cat (although once we brought the water spray bottle back out, the cat came in line pretty quickly).

Anyway, with as often as I don't post, I'm sure this will be my last post before the holidays. So for all two of you who read this thing, have a safe and happy holiday. Enjoy the time with family and friends, and remember to laugh and love and remember. For those of you with blogs, remember to give us some updates. In some cases it's the only contact I have with you.