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.....I ran across the below as I was cleaning up papers from NORWESCON. And thinking about some of my recent experiences with members of the Baronial Populace who could easily be described as "non-normative". I mainly wanted to put it down somewhere so I wouldn't forget.

.....At NORWESCON, I attended a panel on cultural differences. How Society deals with the differences and with the concept of privilege and oppression. And how people in general should be more aware of their interactions with the people around them. It is interesting sometimes how we go through life essentially with blinders over our consciousness. Everything must fit into nice, neat categories. Everything musts be pigeon-holed and classified.

.....It was provocative to see inequality through the eyes of people who directly experience oppression, which in itself is enlightening when one makes the assumption that oppression is something experienced to a lesser degree in America then elsewhere in the world. A definite incorrect assumption on my part, and something I must remind myself continually is not true.

.....The panel consisted of four people with a 'non-normative' background, which I would define now as a minority background. The moderator basically started off the conversation by having us look around the room and note the assumptions made of those in attendance. Those of us who were white, male and middle aged were pointed out to be privileged in ways we might not even fully understand. It was an interesting way to start the conversation as it put those of us in that 'category' immediately on the defensive, which was the intent.

.....Here were the basic tenets of privilege and oppression presented:

"* Privilege is not inherently bad. Example: You are likely privileged to have access to electricity, which means access to refrigeration, efficient lighting/heating/cooking, media, computers, cell phones, the internet, etc. that 1.5 billion people (in 2009 according to the International Energy Agency) do not have. But few would argue that you should not have access to electricity, given the advantages.

* When a majority of a group is privileged, that privilege is treated as normative. Example: Most of us are able to read, and this gives us ready access to a variety of information, from signs to books to handouts. Therefore, it is easy to think that everyone aught to be able to do the same, if one does not stop to consider those who are unable - people with blindness or dyslexia, people without access to basic education, etc.

* Privilege and oppression are often institutionalized. Example: English by default has words for two genders only, and the definitions of the words that each gender is continuous and immutable through life. ("Girl" is a young woman, "boy" is a young man, etc.) Those with non-normative experiences with gender have to adopt or invent new words in order to describe their experiences, such as "cisgender", "neutrois", "genderqueer", etc. Then they have to teach the words and struggle against claims they aren't "real" words, attempts to redefine the words using the existing definitions and implications, etc.

* The defense of privilege is a common source of oppression. Example: Economic inequalities can be defended by shaming the poor, refusing to discuss the subject, claiming that addressing inequalities will penalize the well-off, asseting that "everything's fine", making accusations of trouble-making, predicting a loss of overall wealth, etc.

* Privilege is often defended without conscious intent. Example: It is asserted enough that girls are worse at math than boys that nearly everyone reading this will have heard the statement at least once, and thus it is easy to presume it is a given. Recent studies show that gender is not a good predictor of success at math, however. Nonetheless, the assumption that boys are better at math will likely continue to discourage women from pursuing science and engineering for some time.

* Guilt over privilege indirectly defends privilege. Example: White people who are aware that they benefit from a racist society may feel so guilty that they cannot believe themselves capable of being just towards people of color, and thus perpetuate the racism through inaction.

* It takes conscious effort to think past normative privileges. Example: Those with normal mobility may not immediately realize that stairs and narrow passages hinder those who depend on wheelchairs, scooters, or walkers. An architect who wishes to improve access for the mobility-challenged must keep this concern in mind at every point of the design process to ensure there will be ramps, elevators, spacious hallways, etc.

* The oppressed may internalize their oppression. Example: Transgender people may discover that their own words and ways of thinking about themselves is transphobic, and is contributing to their own oppression. They have to struggle to overcome their internalized transphobia."

.....My biggest takeaways from the conversation:

.....* Ask questions! You can never completely understand another person. It just isn't possible. You don't share a brain. Ask questions with interactive feedback until you come to a mutual understanding. Get their definitions.

.....* Always be on the look-out for assumptions. Your own and others. Some of them are inherent, pervasive and long term. Always question your assumptions.

.....* People will always have their own issues. Do not attempt to own their issues. Do not attempt to give your issues to them. They may be inherently angry towards you for no reason you can understand. That is theirs to own.

.....It was definitely thought provoking. I need to work on modifying my own behavior some, especially in regards to members of the Baronial Family. It may be helpful in maintaining my own sanity as well. Definitely a bonus.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Saturday was a long day. I was going to post last night and zonked out. Although taking a dip in the hot tub probably didn't help as it zapped whatever energy I had left. :-)

.....During our Saturday morning coffee run Marcus and Madeline walked on by. Complete in bathrobe and tuxedo. :-) I saw Madeline later in the morning at a writing panel and from Facebook it looked like Marcus found cool stuff in the Dealer's Room. So I think they had fun. We say Soren and Inga later in the day as well. It was their first NORWESCON. The had bad luck on at least one of their panels, so I'm hoping they had some fun. Although when we last saw them they were off to a gaming panel. So I'm hoping.

.....Started off the morning wiht TBT on a writing panel. It was on the subject of creating story outlines. It's interesting to go to these panels to see the trends in the mechanics of writing these days. It was very telling when the panelists talked about how a handful of years ago publishers and editors wanted authors to pitch ideas to them in outlines of twenty or thirty (or more) pages. These days these same people want to see story ideas condensed down into a synopsis of only a few pages in length. Between electronic media and the faster pace of today's world, you need to know how to create a presence quickly and succinctly. I find that interesting.

.....Next panel was a jewelry maker from the Seattle area. Lots of good information on sources for tooling and materials locally. I did not know of the existence of 'Seattle Findings' on 4th and Pine in downtown Seattle. We need to go! Ever since TSI closed their doors several years back, as well as Alpha in Bremerton, there has been no place to go and put eyes and hands on metal and jewelry making materials. I am rather excited to explore this place as their online presence hints to a lot of cool stuff!

.....Had something of an early lunch, helped TBT haul stuff to her next panel, and then hit a discussion on the use of blogging to enhance writing. I was a little disappointed in the panel. Blogging is useful if you want to sharpen your writing ability. But it is easy to fall into bad habits (bad grammer, disjointed stylings, etc.) and the panelists did not have good things to say on blogging to promote writing as a business.

.....The next panel was a slide show and discussion on the works of XCOR down in the Mojave desert. :-) I even recognized some of the scenery shots from outside Lancaster. :-) Their plane looks great and is scheduled to start test flying at 250K feet this time next year, and at 350K feet in two years. Considering this is a privately financed venture, it was rather exciting. The fact that there are a number of private companies in the area with various business enterprises in development to go into space was very exciting.

.....Another writing panel after that which turned into a debate on the use of outlining a story versus free form writing of a story. It really all boiled down to the individual writing style of the author as to what worked best for them. I personally like outlining things first, but I have to wonder if that stifles my writing somewhat.

.....Met TBT at the Seattle Opera Trunk Show on wings. TBT was very excited to take a close look at the wing designs. She took lots of pictures and touched everything. It was fun to watch her geekdome. :-) It was be fantastic if she could design and create costuming and accessories for the Seattle Opera.

.....I was excited to see the write up and pictures for the 2013 season of the Ring Cycle. I hadn't realized that it was time again. I know tickets are going to be expensive, but I'd like to see at least one. Gotterdamerung is my favorite (how can you resist 50' walls of flame and flying horses on the stage :-)). But I like the story of Das Reingold. There is a dragon after all. :-)

.....Went back to the room after that and dressed up for TBT's final panel on 'Native Steam'. The Steam Punk coat looked awesome. TBT had her picture taken several times on the way to the panel. I was even asked for a picture at least once. :-)

.....AFter TBT's panel we went out to dinner and then crashed back at the room. I had wanted to hear the music of the evening, as the best was saved for last. But I was tired.

.....The room is about packed. We'll start schlepping stuff out to Heather shortly. A couple of panels before we can collect TBT's art show display and then we'll hit the road. NORWESCON will be over for the year and it'll be time to officially start the June Faire season. I'm glad I took Monday off from work. I'll pay for that in spades come Tuesday, but I didn't get a lot of cell calls while here, so I'm hoping that things will settle out quickly.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It's Friday night, and as usual about this time I'm listening to music in the Evergreen Rooms. :-) I was going to attend a panel on Habitable Planets, but the music sounded good as I walked on by and it drew me into the room. :-) So I plugged the laptop into the wall, on the correct side of the room this evening :-), and am catching up with NORWESCON reporting. :-)

.....I actually slept in a little this morning, so was running a little late when we went for our morning coffee run. The Faux Starbucks bar at the Hotel actually mixes a pretty good coffee. So I'm finding that I'm not missing our local Barista's as much as I have in previous years.

.....First panel this morning was a discussion on the Shuttles and whether they were a success or not since they are now retired. Lots of good discussion from a largely polite, and very geeky crowd. The comparisons between what it was estimated to cost to staff and run each mission and what it actually cost was as amazing as always. Did they actually deliver anything to us as far as scientific advances go? Not really. People seemed a lot more genuinely excited about the currently ongoing private space enterprises. And the science behind the shuttle disasters was interesting as well. It's amazing how much of what we read of the Shuttle disasters on the Internet is myth.

.....The day seemed really headed in a space direction as the next panel was a slide show presented by the Science Guest of Honor, Bridget Landry, from the JPL, on the Cassini Mission, one of the missions on which she is a Team Member. Lots of great pictures of Saturn, lots of its moons (Titan and Enceladus (sp?) especially), and the rings. Amazing to think especially that the Huygens - Cassini probe was based on technology that is over twenty years old at this point. Ancient in terms of electronics.

.....Quick run back to the room for lunch and to help TBT get set up for her panel. She and I ran to the Movie Previews. Which was not the best we've been to. Lots of talk, most of which we already knew, and less actual previews. A couple of interesting tidbits. Looks like that freakin' Peter Jackson can't leave things alone and is re-writing Tolkien even more than anticipated! Grrrrr!!!!!! We learned that the Necromancer is supposed to make an appearance at the Battle of the Five Armies. Grrrr!!!!!! I would have been fine with a battle between the White Council and the Necromancer at Dol Guldur. But why re-write Tolkien and bring the Necromancer to the Lonely Mountain! It does not make sense and is frankly unneeded! Damn Peter Jackson!

.....Looks like The Dragon Riders of Pern is finally starting to gain a little momentum. Nothing official of course, but things are looking promising. What was more interesting to me was the news that Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover may get a look. There have apparently been comparisons made between her set up of the political scene on Darkover and 'A Game of Thrones'. Which I could see. Throw in a little psionics and you've got something pretty cool! :-)

.....I ran TBT's books to her panel of 'Threads of Time' which was rather well attended. Esclarmonde and Elizabeth Phipps (sp?) were panel-mates. Lots of costume geeking. I'm not a costumer, so I mainly people-watched. :-) After which I went back to the room to take a break.

.....Delivered more books to TBT when she went to her panel of 'Cultural Costumes'. I went to another panel just down the hall on 'Exploring Other Cultures' which asked good anthropological questions. Lots of good food for thought, especially when someone who had migrated down from TBT's panel and questioned the fact that an entire panel on 'Cultural Costumes' appeared to be Caucasian people. It was stated as an accusation, and was neatly turned around by one of the panelists who asked if she had thought to ask the panelists background. Which, if she had, she would have found out that the panel members had the cultural background to speak to what they did. :-)

.....After that we drug the Rhys Monster away from the room for some dinner, which ended up being at Subway. Which wasn't bad. We've managed to NOT eat at all in the hotel restaurants this year. :-) Which is definitely helping the pocket-book. We spend about half as much by not eating 'out' at the Coffee Garden or Seaports. :-)

.....We toured the Art Show after dinner and let the Rhys Monster go back to the haven of the room. TBT wanted to relax for a while and so I went out for another panel or two. I'm listening to some Geek Rock now. In about ten minutes 'A Little Knight Music' will take up the stage. Which is a lot closer to SCA Bardic. I will migrate back to the room at 10PM as I think that we're planning on meeting Tsuruko and Bernie for drinks. We owe him for skipping out on his birthday last weekend.

.....Rocky Horror appear tonight. I might show up for the opening, but I'm already feeling a little sleepy so am not sure. Tomorrow looks to be a full day. More space, but also more writing panels. I think I need to hunt down Alys as well. She was in the hotel on Wednesday and I've somehow missed her so far. I may have to text her, or Facebook Instant Contact, and make an appointment to see her. :-)

.....Kept running into Althaia all day. She is definitely a space geek, as she has attended every space panel of the day. I also saw Bjorn Kolbjornsson today as well, in passing at the Movie Previews. I never even had the chance to say 'Hi' to him. I wonder if he is staying at the hotel?

.....Definitely a different vibe to NORWESCON this year. Less intense crowds. I'm not sure if the economy is finally starting to affect the Con or not. I'd say not based on the hotel having sold out last November. But it'd be interesting to survey the membership. Little to no Star Trek this year. Only a minimum of Star Wars. Still a goodly amount of Steampunk though. It has not yet run its course completely. I think the Victorian elegance is the draw. It'll be interesting to see what the next big thing is.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Well, it's 10PM and I'm in Evergreen Rooms 3 & 4, the Bardic Rooms for Thursday evening this year. "Kraken-Rohl" is getting ready to play. Amongst their membership? Sir Brand. A man of many talents. So many he doesn't quite know which one he wants to excel at the most. :-)

.....The laptop is plugged into the wall here. I find it amazing as I look about the room that every person in the room has some form of electronic connection. Some are blogging through Facebook. Some are texting. Some are recording with their Smart Phones. Some are checking their e-mails. But every single person in the room has that electronic connection, at least forty or so. It is amazing. Although you can tell that I'm one of the older ones here by the fact that I have this huge monster laptop that I'm typing into, rather than a Smart Phone or iPad. :-)

.....The crowds seem just a little smaller this year. Which seems strange when you consider that the hotel was sold out of the room block last November. It could be that it is only Thursday, and that it'll be as crowded as normal tomorrow. We'll see. But it was rather nice to be able to walk the halls and actually move easily.

.....Hmmm, bagpipes are a bit intense for the Evergreen Rooms. But he does play them well, so that helps. Amplification is not needed! :-)

.....NORWECON tried a new policy this year of opening up the badge lines a couple of hours BEFORE the panels and activities really started. Which makes sense. I'm not sure why no one thought of that before now. But it also meant that things didn't really get started today until around 4PM or so.

.....We mainly relaxed in the room most of the day. TBT worked on costumes. Even completed my SteamPunk hat. Which looks fantastic! I'll be wearing it tomorrow, that's for sure. TBT put up her art display around 2PM. I leant a hand as I could. I think she is going to post pictures at some point. Her panel is right across from the Artist Guest-Of-Honor for this year. I thought it looked good. Great location as it was easy to see from the entry door.

.....I did manage to put up June Faire flyers on all the bulletin boards and racks around site. Although I did notice later that at least one of them was pulled down. I'm hoping it was because someone wanted the information on it. :-) I've got a few extra copies in the room. I'll have to remember to put them up.

.....Attended my first panel at 5PM. It was a talk on the mission to the asteroid of Vesta. There were a few surprises. Primarily as it was found that Vesta was not exactly the cold and dead rock that everyone thought it was. There was a little bit of heat in its core. Various theories on why that was. But no one had definitive answers as yet. The panelists were all PhD's with lots of fascinating knowledge that is generally not read in the CNN newsbites.

.....Was going to go to the Opening Ceremonies, but got caught up in a presentation from the membership committee who wanted WorldCon 2014 to be in London. Hmmm, 2014. We might very well be free to go and do that then. If only it weren't happening at the height of the Tourist Season, in August. Still, London. At a SciFi convention. Hmmmm.....

.....Met up again with TBT to go to the panel on how to be a good panelist. We met up with Melusine there. Tsuruko and Bernie swooped in a little later. There was a lot of information presented. But having watched TBT run her panels over the past couple of years, there wasn't anything presented that TBT didn't already excel in doing. I don't think she learned anything new. Although, maybe a few things that she knew instinctively were spelled out in black-and-white, which may have given her validation of her own expertise.

.....After that panel, I wanted to go to a panel on Time Travel. But the room was packed, so I headed over to the Bardic Rooms a little earlier than I had anticipated. The first group I listened to "Rai Kamishira". Think of your average anime Japanese girl, with pink hair and everything, and you'd have a good image of the lead singer. They sang a fusion of Japanese and Rap. Which sounds strange when written, but didn't sound half bad as the subject was all good con magic stuff. :-)

.....The Dealers Room had the usual for the most part, although I didn't see Katherine. She wasn't looking all that healthy at Ursulmas either. I hope that she is doing O.K.

.....Moving in on Wednesday is still the best! You get in leisurely, and you get the chance to arrange for the room you would rather have than the one you will be 'stuck with' if you move in on Thursday. TBT mentioned that next year we should reserve a small block so that we get everyone together in one location rather than spread across the hotel.

.....Tomorrow looks pretty good on the schedule. Lots of writing and science panels that look interesting. Plus the Movie Previews! Come on Hobbit, we gotta see some Hobbit previews! :-)

.....When the Bardic closes down, I'll check the Dance Hall out and then call it a night. Kraken-Rohl likes their Sea Chanties. I find it interesting to see Sir Brand and Sea Chanties. But they are really working the angle, and it doesn't sound bad.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Still trying to de-stress from the day and week. Work is building up to a total sense of chaos as we get nearer to completion. You'd think it would be the other way around, wouldn't you? :-)

.....Thing the First: The Tacoma News Tribune was running a story on one of the school districts where the teachers were voting to walk the picket lines in a strike. The tone of the article implied that teachers already made a lot of money in comparison to other professions. Then proceded to send the reader through a link to a state database of all the Washington State Public School District employees with a listing of what they made and the additional benefits they earned. As well as their experience and educational levels.

.....I was just haphazardly browsing the list when I started recognizing names on it. All of our local SCA School Teachers are located on the list. Which stands to reason, I suppose. But at that instant I felt rather voyeuristic. In reality, I'd feel rather uncomfortable to have my salary and benefits, not to mention my level of education, plastered on the internet for all to see.

.....It's rather sad that for the education and training required to be a public school teacher, not to mention the reality of dealing with picking up the slack of the many parents who rely on those teachers to educate their children on just dealing with life in general, we pay them relatively little.

.....Thing the Second: Next month is the annual trip to the Ocean in Lobelia. And kit flying extravaganza. Was looking through IntoTheWind.com to wander through the kites and see what there was available. TBT and I both would like to add to our supply of telescoping poles. The 22-foot poles at IntoTheWind are $59 each. Which sounds like a lot, but that price is certainly cheaper than any we've found locally. We were looking at prices ranging from around $40-$50 for the 16-foot telescoping poles.

.....It is really neat at events to be way across the event site and still able to make out the location of camp just by seeing our banners flying way up in the air. Even the runny silk banners we made this year looked pretty cool at Last Chance flying on top of the 22-foot poles. When we get some really good banners made, they'll look even better. Just wish that they made 30-foot poles. :-)

.....I've been looking at various plans and ideas at poles that can be built from parts found at Home Depot or the equivalent. But even the cheapest arrangements, out of electrical conduit, end up running upwards of $50 when all is said and done. And don't even really have the flexibility of collapsing poles. So the fiberglass really is a pretty good deal.

.....The past several years I've been flying a rather cheesy dinosaur box kite that I keep stashed in Lobelia. I'm pretty boring by nature I guess. Not really into the stunt kites like TBT and the Rhys Monster are. But I did see a couple of colorful lotus kites that looked like they would be fun to fly. We'll see if we can put a little extra $$ aside this month and maybe pick up one or two before mid-October.

.....Thing the Third: There is an Origami exhibition later this month in Bellevue that looks interesting. On the weekend of October 1st and 2nd. Of course it clashes with five dozen other things. But if I'm even a little bit lucky and the current project at work is behaving itself, maybe I could take Friday off. TBT and I could go and see the exhibition. The classes lined up for it are supposed to be rather spectacular as well. Might be interesting.

.....Thing the Fourth: The NORWESCON ConCom posted its meeting schedule for the upcoming year. Once again I felt the urge to get involved in the planning of a NORWESCON event. Of course it would be a lot of work. Volunteer based events always are. But think of being on the inside of all the cool planning stuff, with a bunch of totally strange and 'out there' geeks a lot like yourself. :-) I think that once TBT and I step down and pass on our Coronets to someone else, I think I'd like to spend a little time doing this. Just to experience the totality of a Fantasy - SciFi version of the SCA for a little bit. :-)

.....Thing the Fifth: Alys Firekeeper is moving off of the San Juan Islands. She is currently jobless. I'm not sure there is anything for someone with her type of experience in Kitsap County, but if anyone has any ideas, it would be nice to pass them on to her. She is an absolute total computer networking geek. She was a primary in building and maintaining the network for Washington Mutual before it went under. She currently has enough in savings to keep her going for a while, so she'll not be homeless. But a job would be a good thing. Now is not a great time to be looking for a job, even in Washington State. Where the going rate is around 9%.

.....That's enough random for a while.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It was a tough thing to get up this morning as I couldn't believe the weekend was already over! The first three days of NORWESCON had absolutely flown by and here it was time to pack out the hotel room. I was not ready to go.

.....Spent a couple of hours last night listening to music in the Evergreen Rooms. 'The Heather Dale Band' did a pretty outstanding performance of Neo-Celtic and Modern Folk, and a few other traditional songs thrown into the mix. I was absolutely transported to a different time and place. Voice, guitar, violin, cello, and even a little tin whistle thrown in for good measure. The hour and a half or so that they played I was in heaven. The room was packed as well. I think the bardic emphasis the NORWESCON staff had this year paid off. I hope that it means even more music for next year.

.....Ran through the dance areas in the Ballrooms downstairs. But after some good folk music I could not find the modern dance very satisfying. It was like drinking a cheap tequila after several shots of Don Julio. Not a good thing, so I headed back to the room for the evening. And was out pretty quickly.

.....Slept in a little this morning and didn't hit the shower until around 7AM. After the shower I went in to take a look at my e-mail. I wish that I had spent some time actually reading it then, but there was rather quite a lot of it and I decided that I would deal with it when I made it home. So I just skimmed through it and answered the ones that sort of tugged directly at myself and / or TBT. After that I started gathering my stuff from where it lay scattered in various locations of the room.

.....TBT awakened a short time later and we started packing in earnest. When the majority of it was packed away we decided to go out for our Starbucks run and make a final circuit of the convention. Picked up some souvenir T-Shirts and ran through the Marketplace. We especially looked through the Dr. Who offerings for Angharad, but there was actually less than I thought there would be. I think she can find better offerings and better prices online.

.....Checked out the Paranormal Fair. It was definitely an eclectic selection of offerings. Everything from 'Ghost Hunters' to ESP testing to healing advice to readings through different spiritual guidances. I think it really could have been helped if it had had some focus to what it wanted to do. It would be interesting to talk to the organizer of the Fair to see what their intended purpose for the Fair actually was. It could benefit from a couple of years to find its footing and some focus. But the NORWESCON staff may not give it enough space to do that. But we'll see where it goes.

.....Took a last look at the Art Show. Saw a couple of interesting mediums and styles that were rather new to this year. One artist did a set of block prints that were interesting. Another had a series of pictures in tooled and carved leather. A lot of the 'regulars' were back. I'm trying to work on TBT to show something again. I've seen some of the artwork she drew back in her college years. And as with anything TBT touches, I thought it looked pretty damned cool. I'm hoping to convince her to pull it out of storage and put it up for display.

.....After that we went back to the room to finish packing and loading the truck. TBT and I checked our e-mail one last time. Wished then that I hadn't. Received e-mail traffic that depressed me greatly. There are times when I wonder if I'm going to make it through three years as a Baron. I promised myself that I would do it when that Coronet landed on my head! But for a while there this morning I had to keep repeating to myself, '...only thirty months, twenty-three days left to go. I can make it for thirty months, twenty-three days. I know I can.' Sigh. Thankfully, things improved later in the day as we sifted through the information and gained some greater understanding of the entire picture. I need to work on keeping the positive attitude intact and concentrating on the things I can actually affect for the good. Always a hard thing on which to focus, especially when there are so many different things on which to focus.

.....Went to Zoopa's in Tukwilla for lunch after checking out of our rooms (and reserving rooms for next year. Huzzah! :-)). The drive home and exchange of cars with Richard and Gwen were pretty uneventful. They gave us lots to think about though concerning the summer schedule and An Tir - West War. Summer is just around the corner and plans need to be finalized as soon as possible.

.....The next six weeks are going to be a zip line ride straight to June Faire (with a side loop-de-loop through May Crown). The 'to-do' list is in the preliminary stages and will be something I need to finalize tomorrow and is epic in size. I'm glad I took tomorrow off from work! :-)

.....Ups-And-Downs From NORWESCON:

* Up: All the inspirational writing advice. I've really approached the writing thing from the wrong angle for years. It's less about form and structure and more about the actual doing of the writing. Definitely some inspiration to write something on a more regular basis.

* Down: Didn't get to spend a whole lot of time talking with friends at NORWESCON. Buzzed by Bjorn and Alys several times and said 'Hi' briefly. But never connected for any real conversation.

* Up: The music! It was absolutely fantastic this year. Need to pull out my recorder and gemshorn and practice some music for June Faire. I was inspired. Will definitely be busy during the day with the Baron gig, but can sit down and play a little in the evening. Maybe even have TBT sing with accompaniment? Hmmm, will have to think that through some more and implement a plan.

* Down: The return home. I wonder if there is some way to mentally prepare yourself to transition from NORWESCON back to 'reality'? :-).

.....I think it is time for bed. I'm falling asleep at the computer. I think I've caught up with the e-mail, but I'll double-check real fast and make sure.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....I may not make it to midnight tonight. I'm tired. :-) But it was a good day here at NORWESCON. There is a part of me that says I should be on panels like TBT does. But you know, NORWESCON is my chance to relax, be inspired myself, and meet interesting people who do not necessarily play in the SCA. :-)

.....TBT and I slept in a little this morning. I didn't go to bed last night until after midnight. TBT stayed at the Stitch and Bitch until really late and I was already sound asleep when she returned. We didn't make it out the door this morning until well after 9AM. We did manage a Starbucks run here in the hotel and I still was able to make a panel at 10AM.

.....Spent a couple of hours today on writing panels. Listening to all kinds of advice, most of it contrary to what I thought should be sound advice to writing. Most of my limited education had me convinced that writing was a disciplined science that contained regimented outlines and plans and detailed notes that one developed into completed stories. What I heard today was that I needed to spend less time worried about the process and more time just, like, writing. Didn't matter so much what it was or where it went, just get into the habit of churning words out every day. That was the part you really want to regiment.

.....It was all encouraging and inspirational.

.....Stumbled on another panel concerning podcasting of all things. I had wanted to get into a panel on The Hobbit, but realized after about five minutes of it that I was going to learn nothing new. So I got out of the cramped and stuffy room. Next door was a panel on podcasting and I sat down our of curiosity. Podcasting is a lot easier than I thought it might be. Even to the point where it might be interesting to do some at June Faire to post online. :-)

.....Tried to get into the Autograph room to get some books signed by Patricia McKillip for TBT. The place was an absolute zoo. The line waiting to speak with her was over an hour in length. I stood in line for about a half hour and then realized that I wouldn't make it to the end before they would have to whisk her off to her next panel. I was disappointed but I suppose that if I really wanted her autograph I can probably find it on E-Bay.

.....Walked through the art room. There were a few new artists and mediums. I saw a few things I liked. But nothing really inspiring. Was able to get a closer look at the Artist Guest-Of-Honor's art-work. Very fantasy based, and very detail oriented. But I still liked it. All of her art on display reminded me a lot of Tennyson for some reason.

.....Watched TBT and her peeps in action on the Salish panel. It was rather well attended. There was so much information that the panel could have gone on for hours. I think that if they want to do this again they need to decide to narrow down the focus to a single aspect. But TBT had already figured that much out and was already talking about it with Melusine and Tsuruko.

.....I think I'll head up and catch a little bardic before it closes down for the evening. It's amazing how fast the weekend is blowing by. It seems like we just moved in today. :-)

.....Lots to think about and dream about. Time to run.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....At this moment I'm more-or-less ending the day in a concert in the Evergreen Rooms 1 & 2, listening to the band 'Starlight'. They are a five member group doing a little filk, a little folk and a little bit of a lot of cool music. The Evergreen Rooms are right above the free WiFi area (the Coffee Shop), so I thought I would take advantage of the music and the WiFi by catching up in Live Journal.

.....As usual I find NORWESCON rather inspirational from a number of different viewpoints. The primary being the passion for arts and sciences from a uniquely different place than I see from the SCA. People in SciFi / Fantasy Conventions are just as passionate about their forms and expressions of artwork as anyone in the SCA. After a year of being immersed in the SCA viewpoint, I find this different viewpoint a refreshing change of pace. It's a nice way to sort of 'cleanse the pallette' of the mind before the hectic June Faire season starts.

.....I love coming in on Wednesday night. Moving into the room with absolutely no stress. No crowds. No pressure. Very relaxing. We actually spent some time in the hot tub and relaxed. The work cell phone never even buzzed, and I felt absolutely no desire to call into work and find out what was happening. :-)

.....Thursday was also relatively low stress. The programming started later this year than usual, around 4PM. I heard that this was a suggestion made the previous year from the fact the people seem to be waiting in line for an hour or two to capture their badges for the weekend, on top of the fact that most people are moving into their rooms on Thursday. It made sense, but it made for a rather slow day.

.....TBT and I did go and see the Opening Ceremonies. I was surprised by Kinuko Craft, the Artist Guest Of Honor for the weekend. She had a lot of interesting things to say about people breaking into the paying world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I made a mental note to see if I could listen to more of what she had to say later.

.....Patricia McKillip, the Author Guest of Honor had interesting things to say. She is a very down to earth person and I made a mental note to seek out a panel or two with her on it. I have read a number of her books, including the Riddlemaster of Hed, and enjoyed them. She doesn't seem to age at all! She is at least as old as my mother and looks to be my age, and still churns out books on a regular basis. I need to remember to get my McKillip books autographed by her tomorrow. :-)

.....Today was much busier. TBT and I went to a panel on 'The Business of Art' first thing. I think that TBT gathered a lot of validation from listening to the panelists talk about how they produce their artwork from home. The takeaway for me I think was that if you are doing something you love for a living you can throw out the concept of an 8-hour workday. All the panelists talked about working sometimes for eighteen or twenty hours at a stretch to finish a project they were working. It wasn't something that stressed them out. It was just 'something they did'.

.....Went to at least one panel on novel writing. Not much new on that one except for the fact that I'm one year older and am still not working on a novel. Need to get on that one eventually. :-)

.....Followed that one with a discussion about the concept of 'the Cloud', or the virtual network. The panel consisted with concept designers from Google and Intel. It is amazing the paradigm shift were undergoing these days. Even though I don't consciously relize it I am struggling with the shift from having information and 'things' that I hold in my hands to a time and place where everything I hold valuable and dear to me will be 'virtual' and stored somewhere that can be accessed by others. The concepts under discussion were very amazing to me. Not necessarily from the standpoint that they were unknown, but that I had never looked at the information from the point-of-view discussed. Ethics in the world are about to undergo a major overhaul and where they end up is still in the development stage. Think of a world where the very concept of 'privacy' is virtually non-existent. Very mind-blowing it was.

.....Went to the Movie Previews after lunch. Didn't see anything I hadn't already seen. But I did see some clips from the upcoming movie 'Thor' that convinced me that I wanted to see it, not matter how campy it turned out to be. Lots of Super Hero movies upcoming. I think that people are wanting some more heros to save the day. :-)

.....More disturbing news on The Hobbit and Peter Jackson's 'editing'. Sigh. New characters added to the story. Sigh! I wish Peter would stick to movie-making and let people who actually understand Professor Tolkien do the writing. Just sayin'.

.....Went to a panel on the Seattle Museam of the Paranormal. They tried very hard to be objective in what they said and showed. But I left the presentation not wanting to go and pay the place a visit as the people running it are not the most rational. But I may have to walk in and check the place out the next time I'm on the Seattle waterfront. It is right across the street from Safeco Field, in one of the old Office / Warehouses there.

.....Then I spent the rest of the day and evening listing to Bardic Music in the Evergreen Rooms. A nice relaxing way to end the day. May have to work on getting a few of these groups to come to June Faire if possible. :-) I loves me some good bardic music, even if it is the deaded 'filk'. Good music is good music and it doesn't matter if it is filk or not.

.....Debating whether or not I have enough energy to make it to the midnight showing of 'Rocky Horror' It is something of a tradition for me, but I'm having a difficult time staying awake now. I might not make it until midnight, much less the two hours of movie and entertainment involved.

.....Saw Alys Firekeeper today. It was good to see her. She is working as something of an Executive Secretary to a couple of motivational speakers / authors who live in the San Juan Islands. She lives in a room in their house and basically is their 'go to' person for all their needs as they travel around the country. Sounds like a good gig.

.....Saw Bjorn today as well and spoke to him briefly. Saw Mir this evening at the Bardic. Melusine and Wade were spotted earlier, as well as Xenos. Tsuruko has done a fantastic job at all the panels she's been on. There's been a big SCA presence at NORWESCON this year, it's been great to see.

.....They are about to clear out the room to set up for 'Rocky Horror', so it is time to shut down. I should check my e-mail, but am reluctant. I don't really want to see 'the Real World' after several hours of good, escapist, music. Maybe I'll wait until the morning to open e-mail. :-)

.....Zzzzzzzz.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....We're here at NORWESCON. Currently down in the lounge area where the WiFi is free. The parking lot is still relatively empty and the halls are rather manageable. About this time tomorrow that will certainly not be the case. All of us geeky people will be co-mingling to our heart's content. :-)

.....This will be my very first time in one of the outer wings at the Double Tree. I've managed to hit every NORWESCON here with a room in the tower. I admit that I'll miss the view, but being almost in the middle of things without having to wait for an elevator is rather appealing. It's an experiment.

.....Printed out my schedule and will spend some time crafting a strategy of where I want to be all weekend. Lots of good panels are in the offering. Some good bardic looks like it will be available as well. I'm rather excited. I am also curious to see how TBT and Melusine's panel on Native American costuming goes. I wouldn't have thought of NORWESCON as a place for that. But it has potential. The costuming is intricate and beautiful and will attract attention. And as usual TBT's stuff looks totally awesome.

.....No phone calls from work. I think I lucked out and a.) put the right person in my desk at work, and b.) my preparations on Monday and Tuesday paid off. Huzzah. Although I may have to convince myself tomorrow to not call work if nothing appears on my cell phone. :-)

.....Alys Firekeeper is supposed to check into the hotel tonight. I may try to hunt her down. I see her once a year these days, at NORWESCON. She's living in the San Juan's these days. I am hoping to get the details. I think she is teleworking from there. Wish I could get a job like that.

.....I'm getting tentatively excited about the upcoming Serjeantry Trials. People are coming up and asking good questions. I'm starting to think we might get a good group of people with Letters of Intent at June Faire. After this weekend TBT and I have to sit down and get serious on finishing our scrub of the archery section. Then I have to finish putting together the informational books we're going to pass out to those who submit Letters. I have most of the information, just need to put it together in an intelligent format.

.....I'm getting a little scared as well. Once we get those Letters, TBT are committed as well. There will be an incredible amount of work involved in shepherding the candidates and setting up the Trials. Managing people's expectations not the least of the issues. My biggest fear is of disappointing people in the outcome. I guess I need to follow TBT's lead and 'Soldier On'.

.....Need to get out my own armor as well. Master Ralg was poking me about that last night at Fight Practice and there is no good time to get back into it. I just need to 'do it'. I need to take a day next weekend and pull all the parts together that are in the garage and make sure I actually have a complete set and fix pieces. I also think that there is a piece or two that still has Estrella mud to be scraped from it. That stuff is insidious!

.....Every time I come over to this side of the water I wish that I lived over here. There is so much LIFE over here and so many exciting things to do and see. Whenever I come over here Kitsap County seems like some outbound place in the Arctic Circle somewhere. Sigh! I'm sure I would feel different after just a few days of dealing with the traffic, the noise and the faster-than-fast pace. But right now it just feels, exciting.

.....More posts 'Live From NORWESCON' to follow.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It was kind of a squeaker today, whether or not I would have to go in to work tomorrow and handle a few things. But by mid-afternoon I had my temporary replacement already performing and had all of my to-do list done for preparations. By the time quitting time hit I had my 'Out-Of-Office' pointed and shut off the lights on my way out the door. :-) I will still have to bring my work cell phone with me and check it periodically, but I think I'm relatively safe. :-)

.....Wow! Now on to packing! After Fight Practice first though. Sigh! Not that Fight Practice is a bad thing, it's just that I'd rather be packing. :-)

.....To-do list for tomorrow:

* Finish laundry.
* Exchange car for truck (from Richard and Gwen).
* Make arrangements for cat's food and water.
* Drop off Baronial Financial 'stuff' pulled from P.O. Box.
* Talk June Faire stuff with Brighid.
* Bring Aquaterra Coronet matrix up-to-date.
* Pull out suitcase.
* Pull out microwave.
* Pull out dolly.
* Plug in iPod Touch and personal cell phone.
* Pull together laptop (sigh, I forgot to give my laptop to TBT, so we get to 'share' a laptop over the weekend. Again, sigh).
* Pull out vitamins and protein for weekend.
* Pack suitcase with clothes and toiletries.
* Don't forget swimsuit.
* Go grocery shopping for weekend.
* Stop by Cash-And-Carry for flavorings.
* Bring a couple of books to read.
* Pack something 'to do' (make it small as it rarely, if ever, gets touched).
* Pack camera, card, batteries and battery charger.
* Bring cord to connect camera to computer.
* Pull out ice chest and make sure it has it's cord in it.
* Pack some rope and bungies for carting all the stuff to the room on the dolly.
* Pack some comfortable shoes (or sandals or light weight feet coverings).
* Pack some note taking materials.
* Pack some dishes (plates, bowls, cups, utensils).
* Print out updated schedule from NORWESCON web-site (as the printed copy given at gate already has changes).
* MAKE SURE TO TURN OFF E-MAIL AT HOME SO IT CAN BE ACCESSED AT HOTEL!!!

.....I know I'm forgetting lots of stuff. But this at least gets me started.

.....If anyone is interested in coming on over for a little, we'll give you a tour. Just let us know.

.....Time if fleeting. Must hurry. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....This one was all my fault though. I had some ice cream with sorbitol on Thursday, and had a little more than I should have along with a Mountain Dew chaser. I knew that things would not end well, and I was right. By Friday evening my head was spinning and most of Saturday was spent in recovery.

.....But I'm feeling a lot better today, so things must get done. This Wednesday we head off to NORWESCON. The house has to be at least relatively clean, all the laundry done, and things pulled out that we'll need for the weekend.

.....Although it is not a good sign that I've already been distracted by the TV. I'm not normally a fan of Rick Steves and his travel show. But today he is doing a tour of the Cotswolds of England. Starting out from London and walking through a lot of the little towns and villages of the area, then through Stratford, and ending in Cambridge.

.....What a beautiful area! Full of gardens and and cathedrals and castle ruins from hundreds of years ago. Warwick Castle looks ready to explore now! And renting a punt for one of the canals outside Cambridge sounds like the perfect way to spend a Sunday. Makes me want to get on a plane today!

.....Before I forget, 'Zombies of Mass Destruction' is currently one of the movies available on the 'On Demand' section of Comcast. If you are in the mood to see Eric de Dragonslaire as a zombie who meets his end via a weedeater, you'll be richly rewarded. :-) Plus, you get to see our very own Talia in one of her big screen extravaganza's. :-)

.....I did manage to get a couple of things done yesterday. The banner has been ironed within an inch of its life. It's ready for the final step of sewing so that it can be put on a pole. Then it will be ready to go. The changes the ironing made were subtle. The banner was marginally less stiff afterwards. But the ironing did not help any with the mottling of the colors (although I was warned that would be the case). The paint is heavier on the silk than I imagined it would be as well. I have my doubts as to how well it will fly as it seems heavier than even the ripstop flags of the same size I have.

.....I'm not a big fan of the silk paint, Dye-Na-Flo. The next one I do will be a silk dye versus a silk paint. But it was good to try it out and do the process and see the results. Otherwise I wouldn't know and would wonder. Definitely have ideas on the design I want to do already and am anxious to get started as soon as possible. Don't think I'll be able to get that one done by May Crown or June Faire. But I'm hoping that July Coronation may be possible.

.....The 'to-do' list for today:

* Winter Quarterly Doomsday for The Crier.
* Deposit the Fall, 2010, stipend check for The Crier.
* Make phone calls to nominated candidates for Aquaterra Coronets (to follow up e-mails).
* Input latest merchants into the July Coronation Marketplace Spreadsheet.
* Send out receipts of space request for J.C. Marketplace.
* Send out e-mail talking about May Crown encampment.
* Send out e-mail asking for J.C. Marketplace help.
* Work on agenda for next Pelican Regional in May.
* Get laundry done.
* Clean bedroom (put away SCA 'stuff' from last weekend).
* Pull out microwave and electric ice chest for NORWESCON. Stage in Living Room.
* Pull out large suitcase from its hiding place in garage.
* Pull out at least one large bin to stage for NORWESCON packing.

.....Mid week last week things were not looking good for getting out of town this week on Wednesday for NORWESCON. A number of Fleet issues were taking up a lot of time to figure out how we were going to support. But the new Big Boss surprised me. He apparently had had enough of the recent culture of crisis management and made a number of phone calls. The result being that a lot of the burden of recent crisis were removed from our shoulders. Friday was rather interesting. The Mid Level Boss returns to work tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts.

.....After NORWESCON though, it'll be all about June Faire. Must get some understanding on how the Marshallate is going to work so we can talk to it accurately and plan around it. Need to figure out how were going to run Courts and when they are going to happen. Need to figure out how we're going to take care of the Crown on Their visit. Need to figure out the logistics of what we want to do on the Saturday evening gathering. Lots to do though and the clock will be ticking loudly. I don't think I'll craft that 'to-do' list until after next weekend. I'd probably be overwhelmed quickly if I tried.

.....One thing at a time.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Huh. According to SciFi Wire progress is now being made on the production of the 'Dragonriders of Pern' movie. I'm not sure whether to be excited or skeptical. It has the potential to go in several different directions. I suppose it'll depend on the story they really want to do, how much they want to cover, how much action takes precedent over story, etc. I'll tentatively look forward to it in the interim. I read the stories a lot when younger and enjoyed them a lot.

.....I had high hopes for the Narnia movies. But with three of them out now I can say that I am disappointed in them. Visually they look pretty good. The scenery and photography are nice. But the acting and the story line translations have not been very good. Nor have they been very gripping. 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' had great potential as a movie and I left the theatre, frankly, yawning. In fact, believe it or not, I think Peter Jackson did a better job of putting 'Lord of the Rings' on to the big screen than was done for Narnia. Which is sad since I think that Peter Jackson did things to the story that should require him to be beg the Tolkien Estate for redemption!

.....Hope that we hear something on the Pern effort next week at NORWESCON.

.....Must, must, must get my Ingasbo SpreadSheet for 2010 completed so that TBT can finish filing our taxes. It's the only hold-out information at the moment. And it doesn't take an incredible amount of time to do. I just have to condense my income and expense sheet from last year and classify all the entries as appropriate. Shouldn't take more than an hour. Just haven't had the time to do it. Would be nice to complete to also pay off Washington State and their sales tax requirements. I've received a multitude of 'Pay or Die!' notices now and must get that finished before they send the Goon Squad after me.

.....Lots of things in the hopper at work. Not bad things. Just lots of things. It's like work has ADD or something. I'm only allowed to concentrate on any one thing for a stretch of five minutes at a time before the next crisis phones into the desk. Next week it looks like a flight out for the Team to Kings Bay, Georgia. I'm actually glad I received the 'head's up' today as that gives me a handful of days to get everything put together and out the door before it affects NORWESCON. It'll be a squeaker. And it probably means that at the very least I'll have to bring my cell phone with me to SeaTac for the duration. Sigh! Was hoping to leave it at home.

.....The Mid Level Boss was on vacation last week and this week. He'll be back next Monday. So he can take the baton on this particular crisis. I think that I'll even not feel all that guilty as I'm sitting in the hot tub at the Doubletree Hotel. :-)

.....I may be considered as 'non-essential', but the stress level is certainly not proving that. I'm starting to wonder if this was not such a good time to take on the Coronet. Too late now I suppose as I'm not about to give it up this early, but need to force some adjustments at work before things get too overloaded. I'm sure glad the old Big Boss is gone. Life would be completely hell if he were still in place.

.....Banner will be completely painted tonight! Will let it dry over the next day or so and then will get it steamed on Friday or Saturday. I'll have to check in with Anne to make sure that really is the next step in the process. Then it will be time for cleaning and final sewing. Almost done! I can hardly wait to see it flying. I'll have to set up the banner pole in the front yard and fly this from it for a while just to see how it looks. Not incredibly happy with the 'mottled' look of the paint. But am hoping that the steaming process smooths that out a bit. At the very least you can't really notice unless you get close to it. I have learned a lot by working this banner. Lessons learned that will definitely be applied to the next one!

.....Meeting tonight at Brian and Jane's house. The hook was a Salmon dinner. But the conversation will be concerning an elaborate feast that Brian and Jane want to do at Yule in 2012. It'll be interesting to hear their ideas. I'd like to see it be a 'full on' feast. Which, in my mind, means a themed served feast, complete with all the trimmings. Alongside the proper entertainment, and a hall that is decorated completely to match the theme. I remember the Feast that was in Tournaments Illuminated that was decked out in full glory with banners and walls and trencher tables and thrones. It really was Camelot. I'm hoping to convince Brian and Jane to maybe go to the same extreme. With a year and a half to plan they certainly could. Wouldn't it be cool to also have it as a story in Tournaments Illuminated as well? :-)

.....The 'to-do' lists are getting chaotic again. I have a couple of dozen sticky notes in my notebooks and my iPod Touch is speaking in three different languages from all the conflicting notes I'm inputting. Must spend some time this weekend and get a little organized. I'm not even sure what 'to-do' item is the highest priority at the moment.

.....Well, I suppose it could be worse. At least I don't have to move during this time as well.

.....Gotta get ready to go to dinner.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Anne,

.....Saw the advertisement again on Facebook and wanted to make sure you had the details. It takes place on Sunday morning of NORWESCON. Let TBT and I know if you are curious enough to go.

"Curious about ghosts, ESP, strange occurrences and odd artifacts? Interested in Tarot or psychic reading? Want to know more about Palmistry or Shamanism? Then come to the Paranormal Fair on Sunday, April 24th in Grand 3 where we have esteemed guests who will provide interesting information about many things outside of your average daily experience! Please check out their websites and come prepared to be amazed! Some of our awesome participants include:

A.G.H.O.S.T. (Advanced Ghost Hunters Of Seattle-Tacoma)
Jeff Davis, author of Weird Washington
The Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore
Philemon of Elemental Entertainment
The Seattle Metaphysical Library
Tom Hopp, Shamanism Researcher
Mylee Starhawk, Channeling psychic and teacher of Shamanism
Carol Best, Psychic
Galyna Whyteowl, Divination
Dixie Gaspard, Pagan Priestess and Tarot reader
Please join our special guests as they share their experiences, talents, and knowledge during the Sunday Paranormal Fair."

.....It took the place of the SCA Fair and AMPTGARD, but both groups really had little attendance over the past handful of years, so they are trying new things.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....The NORWESCON Programming Grid has been up for at least a week now:

<http://www.norwescon.org/documents/nwc_34/nwc34_program-grid_as-of-03132011.pdf>

.....Looks like some interesting stuff on it, as usual. I'll have to print out the grid and highlight all the best picks and see how I can budget my time most effectively. :-)

.....The science track looks like it has some good tracks on it, although it is a bit on the lean side. The emphasis this year is more on the science fiction and paranormal.

.....I'll have to send Anne a link to the site. I think that she would be greatly intrigued by the 'Paranormal Fair' on Sunday. I find it sad that this has replaced the old time SCA Demo on Sunday, but I suppose you gotta try new things to fit the wants, needs and desires of the paying attendees.

.....A little more music this year though. That should be good. I will probably spend several hours over in the Evergreen Room listening. As that happens to be right above the WiFi hotspot, I'll probably Live Journal more than usual this year. :-)

.....Can't wait for Easter Weekend to hurry up and get here! :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....A new Special Guest of Honor was announced for NORWESCON. I found it interesting as I always thought of NORWESCON as steering a middle course between Hard Science, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I never thought of it as being an event at which you could find what used to be termed 'New Age'. Although the more I think about it the more I realize that what I thought of as 'New Age' is really just a catch-all term for a lot of different things that have always been percolating at NORWESCON if I had just bothered to realize it. :-)

.....Anyways, the SGOH is Marie D. Jones, who has done a lot of speaking on the subject of extra-terrestrials. Wasn't sure if Anne had ever heard of her, but thought she might find the write-up to be interesting.

.....Her web-site is <http://mariedjones.com/>

.....And the NORWESCON web-site is <http://www.norwescon.org/>

.....Although, to be honest, I'm still excited about seeing Patricia McKillip at NORWESCON myself. Must remember to pester TBT to reserve our rooms pronto! :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Must. Resist. :-)

.....TBT had such a great time at NORWESCON and I always do, and always have for the twenty plus years I've been attending now. For all that time I've resisted the temptation to do more than show up and have fun for the weekend that is the event itself. But with TBT so wrapped up in the workings of NORWESCON this year, the temptation to 'get involved' and help 'organize things' is getting stronger. I MUST resist the temptation to do so. :-)

.....TBT is better at juggling her commitments than I am. If I were to take on even a small function at NORWESCON, I'd jump in and not look back. I at least know myself well enough to know that much. And with the job the way it is and the SCA commitments such as they are I have to make it a simple choice, either it is the SCA or it is NORWESCON. But it can NOT be both.

.....Unfortunately for my compatriots in the SCA, I have so much time invested in the Middle Ages that I don't think I could leave it. I've had a very good time, have had very satisfying experiences, and have a lot of friends committed to the SCA. 'Committed' I suppose being the operative word. :-) But the fun that can be had at NORWESCON will have to be a once-a-year thing for a while. But it does make a nice vacation away from the politics and strangenesses that make up the SCA itself.

.....TBT and I were talking about this on the way home. We've decided that the SCA 'Caste System' can work against itself in regard to how people interact with each other, and with outsiders. In a SciFi-Fantasy organization, the playing field is generally level as there really is no hierarchy. The only distinction being how many years you've played in the group. There are no 'levels of performance', no permanent awards. Awards are short term receivances that are generally forgotten rather quickly. This classless system leads to more conversation amongst the average convention attendee with little regard to deference of rank. In some ways it can be refreshing. It was amazing how easy it was to strike up a conversation with someone who hardly knew in the elevator on your way down to the event itself. Not quite so easy at an SCA event where you are busy trying to figure out whom you're supposed to defer to and what exactly you are supposed to be calling them.

.....But it's not like I'm knocking down the SCA. It has its own 'perks'. There are times I can remember being at events and feeling the 'magic' of the occasion, the feeling of being in Camelot with the Knights of Renown and Ladies of Courtesy. The magic and wonder of chivalry is not something generally found at a SciFi Convention. So, guess I'll stick to the status quo for the time being.

.....I was dragging today. Four days at a SciFi Convention feels like ten and I am TIRED. I slept in until at least 8AM this morning (which is LATE for me). Spent the next couple of hours packing out of the hotel room. At noon I took TBT to the Movie Previews, hoping for glimpses of things I hadn't seen at earlier previews. No such luck. I did run into Bjorn though for the third time. We never did connect for longer than five minutes at a stretch. :-)

.....Caitlin was manning the booth for the Washington State Renaissance Faire. They are a very excited group this year, with the new location in Buckley and the new management. Caitlin is convinced that their organization has to 'mend fences' with the SCA and has been anxious about making plans to advertise their event at June Faire this year. I'm working hard at convincing her that she really shouldn't worry about fence mending with the SCA so much. Re-enactments groups like the Faire and the SCA are really part of the same community, the same brotherhood. What affects any one of us really affects us all. And whether we like to admit it or not, the SCA is often referred to as the 'Renn Faire', we're that interchangeable in the minds of the public. With that being said we really should work together rather than try to work as blinded independents. We could help each other directing modern traffic to each organization, not to mention helping each other with an increased volunteer pool, funding pool, idea pool, etc.

.....Caitlin gave me a couple of tickets to the Faire this year. I felt a little uncomfortable in accepting them. It almost felt like a bribe. So I'll most likely donate them as some sort of Largesse, or maybe as a 'Volunteer Prize' at June Faire or something. I'm sure there are those who'd be extremely excited and grateful to receive them.

.....Ack! I'm tired! I think that I'll go harvest my crops in Farmville (;-)) andgo to bed! :-).

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....I actually meant to take my laptop down to the music area and blog while listening to the performances, but at about 11PM I hit the wall and went down hard. :-) I was out!

.....Had a good Saturday of stuff. Not as packed as Friday, but inspirational none-the-less, even taking into account the screen cap of 'The Smurfs' as one of next year's proposed blockbusters. :-)

.....Started out with TBT's 'Elizabeth Goes To The Movies' panel. It was well attended for 9AM. I think that TBT received some good feedback on improvements she could make to it for next time. I thought it humerous that her co-panelist never showed up, but that the Costuming Track God came by for a while to listen in and offer his advice. But in a good way.

.....Spent some time chasing after people with whom I had wanted to spend time, and still basically missed them all. :-) I think I had at least three drive-bys with Sir Richard (looking sharp in his Star Trek uniform :-)). We had a brief, but intense conversation, on our thoughts on 'Star Trek: Phoenix'. He thinks more highly of it than I do. I think maybe I should unwind a bit and not be such a purist, but I keep thinking back to the 'Look At Me' conversations with the cast last year and think I'll hold off on giving them more credit until I am convinced that it is worth the effort. :-) Guess I'm a snob. :-)

.....Went to a room stuffed with people listening in on plans for Mars exploration. The US Space scene has a rather dismal outlook at the moment, but there are still a couple of things on the horizon.

.....Went to a panel on writing workshops. It was an interesting rundown on how these intensive workshops are actually organized. I'm not sure that I have six, plus, weeks to devote my life to writing and nothing else (assuming that I even have the writing skills to be accepted in the first place), but it was inspiring none-the-less. I've always enjoyed writing, but the lack of discipline has always prevented me from developing it. It's always good to get a kick in the brain like that to inspire.

.....Went to a panel with the Science Guest of Honor on Quantum Entanglement. Wow! The actual physics are beyond my capability to really understand. But it was a fascinating conversation on the current research on photons and light-travel. They discussed conversations across space at faster-than-light speeds, with the possibility of using light to transport the physical. It was theoretical physics on the 'real'. The actual possibilities are astounding. And the fact that scientists are taking these possibilities seriously and enacting experiments is astounding.

.....Ran for some dinner with friends and sat down with Gwen, Bernie and Tsuruko to wait for the Masquerade. Normally, I just watch it in my room. But there was the possibility of seeing some interesting movie previews during the half-time of the show, so I did the stand-and-wait bit. I will not do that again! I would have been far more comfortable in my room! :-)

.....After the Masquerade I went up to Gwen's for drinks with everyone. Like I said, I meant to go and listen to some music. But I crashed hard. Now I'm struggling to get everything into the requisite bins and cases for the pack-out to the cars. We can't leave until 3PM today (so we can pick up TBT's and Gwen's art show entries). So once we get out of the room, I think that I'll see what panels look good for today. :-)

.....A good vacation. Glad I took Monday off as I intend on sleeping in tomorrow morning. :-)

.....Next year we get rooms in Wing 7! :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....It was a good day of panels and interesting (as in fun) meetings and gatherings.

.....Dropped off TBT with her panel at 9:00 this morning and took off for a linguistics panel, 'Fictional Linguistics'. It was moderated by a retired Professor of Linguistics from the University of Michigan. It was absolutely fascinating. Lots of talk about the evolution of the spoken word and the interconnectiveness of the languages of today. Lots of talk about the ongoing evolution of language as well. From the major shift in English in the 15th Century, to the ongoing shifts in language being charted in today's world. It is fascinating to see how fast things change.

.....Lots of talk on how to develop your own fictional language. Professor Tolkien of course makes this look easy, but he a.) was a Philology Professor, and b.) spent years developing an entire world in which to house his created languages. Every new thing I learn about the development of language puts me that much more in awe of Professor Tolkien and his creation.

.....Ran off to a panel on the 'Dark Side of Trek'. It was interesting, and another Star Trek panel filled with geeks. Three of the four panelists were members of the fan based Trek experience, 'Phoenix', but there was still some good discussion. It was interesting to me to note that DS9 was cited a lot for its dark storylines.

......Off to another geek-filled panel talking about quantum physics and all the latest physics discoveries. It was rather fascinating, with a lot of talk of the new discussions of 'Dark Matter' and 'Dark Energy' and String Theory. I found it interesting to note how even amongst the scientific community theories go in-and-out of vogue so quickly. Just a few years ago scientists were poking holes all over the place in Einsteins theories and equations, and now they are all starting to think he was more dead on than even he thought. Interesting.

.....Ran off for lunch and picked up Rhys for a couple of hours of upcoming movie previews. Rhys is super excited about the upcoming 'Guardians of G'Houle'. I was a little disappointed in not seeing anything exciting coming up. There were no clips for 'The Hobbit' or 'Harry Potter'. I yawned at the clips for 'Tron' (I was not impressed). 'Ironman' is interesting, but I can wait for the DVD. Nothing on the next 'Sherlock Holmes'. And I became overcome with nausea at the thought of the upcoming 'Smurfs'. :-)

.....Dropped Rhys off back to the room and listened to a concert for a while, James Alexander and 'Tricky Pixey'. The pagan crowd is bigger this year. Not so much 'goth', but lots of teenage pagans. They seemed to be serious in their regard, so I'm hopeful that it is not an off-shoot of the whole 'Twilight' thing, but its interesting to note the social trends at NORWESCON from year to year. Quite a microcosm of the World at Weird.

.....Ran off for a quick dinner before watching TBT win the Single Pattern Contest with her Dragon Bag. I knew she'd win. But I admit to being slightly worried when I saw the Totoro bag, which was awesomely cute. :-) I've got to bring the bag with me to at least one Pelican Council Meeting. I'll be the envy of the crowd. :-)

.....Ran across Bjorn who was lined up for the Fannish Fettish Fashion Show, which seems to be really popular this year. Even more so than Steampunk was last year.

.....I've run across Alys a couple of times now, but haven't had a chance to sit down and talk at all. Will have to hunt her down tomorrow.

.....O.K., it's off to Rocky Horror. Must leave now to get a good seat. Maybe I'll bring the laptop to catch up on Farmville while being in the Evergreen Rooms. Or else split me time between Rocky Horror and the Filk room across the hall. I'm hoping there will be some good music tonight.

.....More fun on the agenda for tomorrow. Join us if you can.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....With the number of people still milling about in the lobby it feels like a Friday and it is still only Thursday. As is evidenced by the fact that the song circles in Evergreen I and II were empty. Which was disappointing, but they'll pick up tomorrow I'm sure.

.....It was kind of a lazy day, but with lots of new surprises. I've been attending NORWESCON now for almost twenty years (WOW! I can't believe that!) and this was the first year as the guest of a Con Pro. They have a number of nice perks, including not having to wait in line to get their badges and 'bag-o'-goodies'. It almost felt like cheating to go to the separate room for this stuff (except for the fact that we waited so long in the other line before being told we waited in the wrong line :-)).

.....I have to work against feeling like a fraud a lot being married to TBT. She is such a talent! And at a Convention like NORWESCON? She'll be in constant demand every year she is here. And I? Get to ride on her coat-tails and get the cheap admittance fee. I know I should just get over my bad self and enjoy the fun, but it's difficult. I'll just have to work harder to make sure my discomfort doesn't rub off the wrong way. I'm still enjoying the heck out of NORWESCON, and tagging along as TBT's bobbing hula doll on the dashboard is O.K. by me because the event is more lively and exciting than it has ever been. And it just started.

.....Tore through my scheduling booklet and marked up all the panels and events I want to attend this weekend. There is some fun stuff scheduled. The hardest part will be deciding which one of three I'll attend at any one time. :-)

.....Attended to Rhys as well. He isn't fully integrated into the Convention circuit yet, so we have to make sure he has fun as well. Which can be work for a pre-teen. But we did manage to get him some pool time today. Gwen and I took a couple of shifts watching him and Briget splash around. :-)

.....Helped TBT a little (mainly watched) as she set up her bags in the art show. I thought they looked good. But if TBT does the display next year I think there is a lot we could do to jazz up her panel. But she was getting her feet wet this year and I'm glad she had enough time to get everything together to even do a display, much less prep for her many panels, sew her single pattern bag, etc.

.....Took a tour of the Marketplace. Lots of Steam Punk stuff, to be expected. Nothing jumped out at me and said 'Buy Me!' :-) But it was fun to see some of the stuff we only see once year. Again and again, TBT and I both were saying, 'That looks cool, but we could make that ourselves.' I suppose the ingredient left out of that conversation though is WHEN. :-)

.....Had dinner NOT at the hotel (across the street at a diner). Still expensive but the service was great and the food good. Then back in time for the kidlets to go and do lazer tag. :-)

.....TBT, Tsuruko and I attended a panel on the re-boot of Star Trek. All these geeks in one place! There were over fifty people in the room and one could immediately tell the excitement generated at the prospect of another generation of Star Trek on the horizon. People may have some difficulty in accepting everything presented in Mr. Abrahms' new Trek, but they all want MORE! Looks like the sequel is already in pre-productions. There is also the prospect of a new series as well. Hmmmm, we'll see.

.....Wandered over to the bardic areas. Not much happening tonight. Dance is in full swing though. But I'm a little on the tired side, so maybe I'll read a little and go to bed. Lots of stuff to see tomorrow. And Labyrinth at 6:30 in the morning on the NORWESCON Fantasy Channel. I still think that a Twelfth Night Autocrat TEam should seriously investigate piping in the whole Twelfth Night Court into all the hotel rooms via reserved TV Channel. I think it would be an awesome way to break up court and allow people to grab food and relax a little. Just a thought. Need to autocrat a Twelfth Night sometime to try this out. :-)

.....YAWN! Bed Time. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....It has been entirely too long since the last time I posted to Live Journal, but every time I sat down to journal the only thing I could think about writing on is how bad things are at work. Which gets old fast. But it is vacation and I am going to spend the next four days geeking out with the rest of Northwest Freakdom here at NORWESCON. I love coming here. It is NOT the SCA, and inspirational in its own way. :-)

.....Already saw Alys Firekeeper checking into the DoubleTree. She is out in one of the wings. It'll be good to sit down and catch up with her. She was driving a new Prius, so I'm betting she weathered the bank folding up last year better than hoped. I was worried a little for her. But she is smart and capable, so I pretty much knew she would land on her feet.

.....TBT has Friday LOADED with panels on which she is speaking. Plus her single entry pattern bag. Plus she is judging the masquerade. She never does anything half-way. It's all or nothing! :-) I'm in awe and wish I were half as industrious. :-)

.....Already started watching the movie premiers for the upcoming year. 'Book of Kells' looks interesting. I hadn't realized it was an animated movie. Much in the same style as 'Samurai Jack'. I'm wondering if it is produced by the same people.

.....Am debating whether to turn on the work cell or not. I was still handling traffic on it as I was leaving the Yard yesterday, an hour and a half later than intended. The mid-level boss was a little upset that I was actually taking leave. As a manager I'm supposed to be married to the Shipyard, right? :-) I never did tell the Big Boss. He'll find out soon enough. My Project Manager told me to have a good time and not think about the Shipyard until next Tuesday. I'm liking him more and more. Although he, jokingly, told me to plan on taking no more leave for the rest of the year after this weekend. Hmmm, but he did laugh....

.....Off to do some quick shopping and then sit down and plot out the panels I want to attend. Then hunt down Alys for conversation.

.....Then find time to catch up on Farmville. It's quite addictive you know...:-)

.....Stop on by if you can. We're in room 408. You can use our room as a base of operations and we'll give you a tour if you've never been to NORWESCON before. It's a lot of fun!

.....Aaron / Arontius.

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