It's really hard to start up blogging again, but I continually feel bad about enjoying my friends' blogs and being happy when they update, and yet denying them the enormous pleasure of reading mine. So here we go.
I'm actually glad I remembered to take the occasional picture in the last few months; it reminds me of events. Going through my bookmark list also helps. I do think of y'all! I'm just terrible with the follow-through...
So in roughly chronological order, a while ago we took in the Genghis Khan exhibit at the Tech Centre, which was very good. Engineer John happened to be in town (it's so nice to live in a place where people actually get sent on business) so he accompanied us.
I have a strange fascination with Mongolia, so I was pleased to learn that there is a Naadam festival held regularly in the area. Maybe next year!
We had a Halloween thing at work, but I wasn't organized enough to really do anything elaborate* and didn't want to repeat last year.** I settled for a joke that I'm not really sure a lot of people got, which surprised me. Usually if I know about something, it's gone past pop culture and into obscure history.
(Teal Dear? TL;DR? Geddit?)
We had an election. No pictures. Argh.
The local university put on a Steampunk version of Twelfth Night so we had to go wave the cog-and-goggles flag. It was very good! I especially liked Orsino; they did him as a mopey emo-goth who kept theatrically collapsing with woe. Malvolio and Sir Toby were also standouts. Malvolio was especially excited that R:tAG also had a clockwork hand (Malvolio's mostly out of costume in this shot, sadly, but he ran backstage to put his hand back on when he saw R:tAG's )
R:tAG and I went up to Seattle for SteamCon II which was great. This year's theme was "Wild Wild West".
Next year's is 2,000 Leagues Under the Sea and I have some costume ideas for next year (thanks to Prof. Wright from Polygnostic U.) that will be awesometastic. Perhaps even better than the ostrich, though the ostrich was a lot of fun. Next year, though, I am going to put the costume completely on at least once before the event.*** I spent too long in the morning jury-rigging bits and pieces.
And then we visited Arizona to have (American) Thanksgiving with my folks, who were also visiting there. In the theme of "R:tAG Re-enacting Scenes From Fallout", he decided to harvest some prickly pear fruit. At least he wasn't shooting Roman legionnaires in the head.
We were staying in a town named "Surprise" which kept me in a constant state of low-level amusement. I think the locals thought I was a bit simple.
And finally, we went this weekend to the Dickens Fair**** and there saw a production of the Mikado, spoke to Edward Allan Poe and Cyrus Harding***** had some fine English comestibles****** and bought some cool stuff including a fox mask.
I only wore the mask for this picture, but it is a great mask.
And I think that brings us up to date! How are you doing?
* Also, after about 20 years of ignoring all levels of (in)activity and (un)healthy diet, my body has finally decided to change shape so many of my costumes were no longer an option. Anyone interested in a dark green and black Size 8-ish Italian Renaissance dress (Simplicity 8735, View B (lower right))? There's a slim (hah!) chance I'll be able to wear the Edwardian, Regency and Victorian outfits comfortably again, but I think the Italian Ren is a write-off.
** The delicate flower of a UI Artist has moved on, alas, so I couldn't even get up the motivation to think up something really disturbing.
*** The logistics of the costume were complicated by the fact it had to fit into checked luggage (I didn't feel like being a poster child for the new security procedures). I was explaining this to a mundane in the Seattle hotel elevator, how the costume collapsed and folded, and she said "Oh, you should be an engineer!"
**** Not for the Steampunk Day, alas, I was already committed for an all-day gaming marathon that day, but sometimes it's nice to just go straight historical and not have all the serious volunteers give you the side-eye like you're wearing LotR costumes to a Ren Faire.
***** Not really.
****** "Try our French Onion Soup! Tastes like French people! And onions!"
More Steampunk goodness, with the Handcar Regatta on September 26. It was really really hot, but we found that a nice Italian lunch with lemon gelato takes the edge off the heat quite nicely. In addition to the actual races* there were blocks of stalls with cool stuff** and food and even some DIY-type displays like Makers' Faire.
And then Mr. Tall visited for a bit, which was a pleasure as always. We'll get him to move down here yet! Unfortunately he was here only during the week, which meant we didn't get a chance to do anything very photogenic with him.***
Thanksgiving here is called "Columbus Day"**** and we spent it in part assembling our newest impulse buy.
It's a walking eye! It's a walking eye that makes compost! It's a walking eye that makes compost and was on sale! Irresistible! It's resting on six upturned caster wheels, so you can rotate it easily in any direction. It was actually kind of fun to put together... it arrived flat-packed, if you can imagine. I think I will have the opposite problem of trying to make compost in Saskatoon; it is harder to get brown material here than green. Difficult to believe right now especially, when I'm sure the lawns of Saskatoon are ankle deep in dead leaves.
* As you can tell from even a cursory examination of the photos, actual speed was not the only consideration in judging the winners. Artistic merit also factored heavily.
** I bought a parasol with tentacles on it, mainly out of self-defence. The sun was hot!
*** Drinking and watching RiffTrax Shorts is really of interest only to the participants, and only at the time.
**** This statement is not exactly true.
So, monthly round-up, I guess.
We went on a train. No, I'm not saying it right... We took a train!!!!! And we went with a bunch of very cool Steampunk people from all over.
(Ah, all the high tech in the world can't keep my thumb out of the picture, apparently. Where is my Photoshop Thumb Filter? Better pictures are here)
It's the V&T Railroad, from Carson City to Virginia City, and it was fun. We went on the steam train (of course!) which uses fuel oil and not coal but which is still very steamy! We had a group picture taken in front of the engine in Virginia City and the engineer obligingly created a big cloud of steam for atmosphere and now the back of my coat doesn't have wrinkles any more.
It took about 1.5 hours to go (IIRC) about 20 miles, so we were going slowly enough to appreciate the Nevada scenery. Virginia City was once quite large and active (during the silver rush and the Comstock Lode and all that) but now it pretty much exclusively caters to tourists and shuts down at 6 PM apparently. Still neat, though. We had a beer at the Bucket of Blood (as you do) and saw a couple of museums* and had our pictures taken by (other) tourists who thought we were part of the show.
And the next day before we headed back we walked around Carson City for a bit, which seems very small for a state capital but has a disproportionate amount of history and very nice old houses (see above re: profitable holes in the ground).
A while ago we also saw They Might Be Giants down in Santa Cruz, and I just have to share the decorations from the Rio Theatre:
I'm pretty sure that Tragedy and Comedy have been replaced by Terror and Psychosis. Should we say anything?
* Including the Red Light District Museum, which is in the dim and ancient basement of a bar and which includes medical implements from the 1850s. Nothing makes me appreciate being born in the late 20th century like seeing the state of the medical art of the mid-19th. Mind you, as one of our new steampunk friends pointed out, people in the next century might say that about this one.
- Inception was very, very good.
- Black Dynamite was very, very good. It's like Lost Skeleton of Cadavra but with a higher budget and for a different genre. An absolutely spot-on... parody? Homage? Affectionate spoof?
- The Expendables was pretty disappointing. If it was meant to be to 80's action films what Black Dynamite is to 70's blaxploitation films, I think it failed. It was no A-Team, anyway.
- Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant was really unexpectedly good. Did that even make the theaters? I remember seeing a preview for it and then bang, it was in the Netflix queue. A pity, I really liked it and hope they make a sequel.
- I do not recommend watching Inception, Franklyn and Re-Cycle within three days of each other either, and not just because I thought Re-Cycle had a pretty banal ending. You will start thinking disturbing thoughts about the nature of reality and end up not getting anything done.
Oh, and of course Uncle Baby Quinn and his cool pop were here for all-too-short a time on a motorcycle trip. We got up to SF to see the Asian Art Museum and the mandatory Fisherman's Wharf visit.
(the bottom picture is Quinn. Just in case of confusion).
I highly, highly recommend taking a ceramics expert with you on your visit to the Asian Art Museum. Quinn's Cool Pop made the visit about a million times more interesting (um, not that it's not an interesting museum. But having your own personal expert tour guide is great!)
And the picture-taking during all this activity raised a bunch of interesting questions thanks to my recent reading of Cognitive Surplus. At the Mountain Winery concert particularly, a sign said "No Professional Photography." What is professional these days, when literally anyone with an Internet connection has a "Publish" button?
That whole question might be another blog post, but I do highly recommend Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody, especially to those people who have read Blind Faith.*** I guarantee you will thoughtfully put the book down and say "Huh. Never thought about that," at least once.
* Motto: "Our wildlife is so full of mercury that you can tell the temperature by watching the snakes' heads bob up and down!"
** A very nice venue, and there's a restaurant up there that we'd like to try out. The view is amazing.
*** Well, at least if you found Blind Faith disturbing and dystopic, and want to be reassured of the good side of modern information technology.
So Cenobyte with her writeyness has mentioned this, of course, but a couple of weekends ago was the wedding of my old and dear friend to a lovely woman who I hope will become an old and dear friend. It was a blend of Vedic, Catholic and secular traditions, which provided a constant low-level cognitive dissonance that was really enjoyable. Ganesh was invoked and the sacred fire was kindled under the benevolent gaze of the Christ. I had no idea that Catholics were so ecumenical.* And of course Cenobyte and I still share a brain.**
The reception was in the basement of the Post Office.*** As I believe I said at the time, if someone had told me 28 years ago at a D&D game that one day, I'd be in the basement of the Post Office celebrating the DM marrying a supermodel ninja, I'm not sure I'd have believed it. But there we were, watching the father of the groom in full Highland fig (he had changed from his shalwar kameez), singing an Elvis song to a group of appreciative ladies in saris.
(our friends have the best weddings!)
We got to see many other friends too even though our visit was terribly short. On the bright side, we only had a few days exposure to the mosquitoes, which because of the warm, wet summer are particularly vicious. The event was two weeks ago and my legs still look like a bunch of Smurfs went on a hickey rampage. We've lost all our Saskatchewan-born instincts of self-preservation, as I realized when I paused outside the rental car to text Effigy that we were coming. Silly me.
Still, a great weekend!
* Not meant to be snarky, honestly. I really was pleasantly surprised. Apparently the Catholic Powers That Be, with the close reasoning that I associate with Jesuits, have carefully thought through how mixed marriages will be performed ("mixed" here being Catholic and non-Catholic, so a hard-shell-Baptist/Catholic wedding uses the same rules as a Hindu/Catholic wedding. This pleases me.) I gather the participants still have to be of different sexes, but baby steps.
** I wore a gray dress and decided it needed punching up a bit with a red handknit shawl. Completely independently, she wore a lovely red dress and decided to wear a gray handknit shawl. We looked like the backup singers. And she stole my shoes again!
*** Well, in a jazz club that's in the basement of the downtown building that used to be the main Post Office. To me it will always be the Post Office.