Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Diary Catchup

It's been a wee tad busy lately, so I've fallen behind up updating my diary. So let's see what I actually remember...

Last Wednesday: Which is when I last updated, but there's a postscript: I ended the day with the worst headache I've had in a long, long time. Curiously, the next day I got up to oakleaf_mirror's description of her first true migraine, and the description was pretty similar. Like her, I have sporadic ocular migraines, and like her, I have to wonder if this one was the real thing. Nasty.

Last Thursday: Turkey-day. We had a fairly inefficient afternoon of it, with msmemory preparing the veggies for the evening (sweet potatoes with maple, and her usual wonderful green bean casserole). We got to my Aunt Martha's around 5ish.

It was quite a reunion -- the first we've had my mother's entire side of the family together in many years. We had 24 people there -- my maternal grandfather, his three kids, their six kids and SOs, and several smallish great-grandkids. I split my conversational time between geeking with my uncle, brother-in-law, and male cousins (all of whom are in the computer industry in one form or another), and talking politics with the rest. Suffice it to say, I'm one of the more conservative members of the family, so there was a lot of general commiserating about the current horrors.

Dinner was quite good, with no major surprises. There were too many pies, but that was fine -- lots of selection for everyone. The house really wasn't large enough for so many people, so things wound up splitting, the families with kids at two tables in the dinette, and the rest of us at two tables in the dining room. We wound up at a card table with my cousin Jon and his girlfriend Larissa. Somewhere along the line, Jon grew up into an interesting person -- he and Larissa are into RPGs, LARP and so on, so there was plenty to talk about. They brought two chocolate pecan pies that were simply to die for: I must get the recipe. (They apparently put three times as much chocolate in as they intended; we assured them that it was okay.)

Last Friday: Back with family. Since Mom was in town, we decided to hang out for a while. She wanted to visit Nashoba Valley winery, which is never a hardship for me. My sister Ruth wanted to tag along (with her two small kids), so it was fairly inefficient, but that was okay -- left time to chat with family. We hung out, went to the winery, bought a few bottles for Mom and several for us, and came home via Derby Farms (purveyors of fine apples).

Then a quick swing home to pick up msmemory, and back again -- Ruth had informed me in no uncertain terms that we were coming back for dinner. That was nice -- a few people had headed home already, so it was slightly less of a mob scene than the previous day. But the family was in a collectively morose mood about politics, and that pretty much dominated dinner.

Last weekend: There must have been a weekend there, but damned if I remember much of it. We shopped a bunch Saturday, and rested Sunday.

This week: Mostly dedicated to The Release Process. We had previously committed that we were going to release ASAP 2.0 in December; early in the week, they publically declared that the release would be Sunday. (As I write this, I see that the website claims that we're up and running, thank heavens.) So it was the usual frustration of the late process. Spent most of the week doing regression tests -- by now, we have literally thousands of bugs that need to be tested before a release, so everyone gets pulled into it.

Things got steadily duller over the week, and I started Friday certain that I'd simply be twiddling my thumbs all day. Murphy apparently heard this, because I instead spent the day in full-scale crisis mode: a late stress-test turned up two critical bugs. Fortunately for my mood, neither turned out to be directly in my systems -- I tend to take big bugs a bit too personally. We spent about five hours nailing down exactly what was going wrong and fixing it, and the subsequent stress-tests went smoothly.

There really wasn't a lot of week aside from work. msmemory reminded me on Monday that this was going to be a *fifth* Tuesday, so there was no Accademia; dance practice was pleasant, but not in any way unusual.

The rest of the evenings of the week were spent prepping game stuff for Saturday: making some progress on the Game Cheat Sheets (unfinished, but I got a good deal further), putting together printout folders of game instructions, and finally compiling The Ace's Boke into printed form. The latter came out nicely -- I bought a very nice 17th century print font for this exact purpose a couple of years ago, so the typography actually matched the text. And after I struggled with Microsoft Publisher for a couple of hours, msmemory pointed out that Word now does bookfold. This makes me *very* happy: it means that I can basically relegate Publisher to the dustbin, because the only thing I'd really been using it for was to get bookfold printing.

The only news of the week was that my indigestion had been getting steadily worse since about Thanksgiving, and I was in real pain Tuesday night, getting very little sleep. This was of real concern, because I'd finished a Prilosec regimen only a few weeks earlier. So it was back to the doctor on Wednesday, to get poked and prodded. She wasn't deeply worried, and put me on a much stronger PPI prescription. (40 mg of Protonix for a month, instead of 20 mg of Prilosec for two weeks.) That helped more or less immediately, same as last time. But I'm going to have to figure out what exactly is setting off my problems, and deal with it. I can cope with greatly reducing the coffee and alcohol (two of her recommendations). I'm more concerned that dairy might also be complicit -- I have a *lot* of dairy in my diet, and significantly dropping that will be painful. But we're going to try to at least bring it a good ways down.

Saturday: This week was Snowed in at the Castle, tpau's event. This was unusually pleasant -- for once, Carolingia held an event that wasn't wildly overscheduled and hectic. The event was built around gaming, storytelling, riddling and stuff like that. Needless to say, I was on the spot for the games, so I brought my entire collection, reminding myself once again that I have a *staggering* number of period games by now -- we had something like half the event gaming, and probably didn't even open half of my games.

The event was mainly in two rooms. In the front Vestry, jdulac had set things up as the Baron's sitting room, and it was as lovely as expected. This was nominally the "Enchanted Corner" -- a low-key Enchanted Ground, sort of shading moreso as you approached the throne. I set up some of the core games that were particularly appropriate for his persona there, with the chessboard turning out to be a major focus in that room. Other entertainments wandered in and out there, such as the Quire serenading him for a nice long concert.

The rear Fellowship Hall was larger and plainer, and didn't quite achieve as much degree of Atmosphere. But msmemory and I helped to bring it at least halfway up to snuff, with our rugs on the floor and the big freestanding iron candleabras that she picked up cheap after Halloween beside them. I scattered a zillion games around, and people picked up a variety of them. I wound up playing one Game of the Goose, a couple of rounds of Ruff and Trump, and about 20 minutes or so of Rhythmomachy with Ciana, who specifically wanted to learn it. I also taught a bunch of games -- medieval Chess here, Merels there, Astrological Tables another place. Generally a great day of gaming, probably the most gaming-intense event we've ever had here.

Helping this was a bit of "currency". tpau had gotten some assorted coins of various lands; these were inconsistent but cheap, and supplemented with cute little snowflakes. Everyone was encouraged to use this currency for tipping the entertainers and waiters, gambling, and so on. I can't say we got *heavy* gambling going, but there was at least a bit of it to break the ice. I introduced a "bank" concept, to make sure that we didn't wind up with economic problems: people who wound up with a lot of money were encouraged to deposit it with the bank; those who ran out could come to the bank and borrow more. I don't think it was critical, but helped people feel like they had some leeway for gambling. Guindormr came out of all of this determined to get a proper Carolingian currency put together, since the mundane coins made him twitch; I'm encouraging him in this, since a proper currency would be really great for gaming.

The dayboard was an interesting and (IMO) wholly successful experiment. It was relatively light fare -- nuts, cheese, bread, smoked mackerel, pickles and so on. Instead of the usual sideboard, though, they had a small army of serving ladies passing around little dishes of things: you would take, say, a cup of little pickles, and tip the server if you wanted. It took an otherwise simple dayboard and made it much more interesting. It also encouraged folks to pace themselves, nibbling over the course of the early afternoon instead of standing on line and then wolfing it all down.

There was a brief Court in the late afternoon -- since neither Su nor Fu was there, I wound up filling in as court herald. There were two pieces of business: a letter of safe passage for Marguerite of Greenwood Isle (who, sadly, has to leave us) and the induction of msmemory into the Order of the Moon. (Yay!) It was a nice, intimate little Court -- instead of the usual sideshow of SCA courts, this was really the Baron sitting in state, making his presentations. We did it in the Vestry, which added to that sensation. Really a nice change of pace.

The Feast was the last element of the day, so it wasn't as rushed as it sometimes can be. It ran about two hours, with three courses, one for each Peerage: Laurel Fritters (the original inspiration for the theme), Belted and Unbelted Champignons (stuffed mushrooms), and cute little split hard-boiled eggs made up to look like Pelicans in their Piety. There was a main meat dish for each course -- first was a chicken and fruit stew (good), then red deer wrapped in pastry (great), then a rabbit stew served over rice (splendiferous). All of this was capped by a fruit pie for dessert that was truly wonderful: layers of nuts, raisins, and dates in a good pastry, making for what ladysprite described as "baklava with fruit". (Bless her heart, she managed to snag me a big slice from the leftovers, which I had for brunch today -- it's very nice having a thoughtful apprentice.)

Anyway, kudos to rufinia for a really fine feast -- this one was damned good even by Carolingian standards, and really excellent for a first-time cook. She's blaming me (with some justification) for talking her into running it, and I'm quite willing to take that.

We had good company for dinner: we wound up sitting with ladysprite, Ciana and Orlando, asdr83 and laurion, and Alessandra. It made for good conversation, including an impromptu riddle contest in the middle -- Orlando had written a bunch of good riddles for the day's diversions, and those of us who hadn't heard them already tried our hands at them. I did terribly, of course (I'm lousy at riddles), but it was a pleasant diversion.

Everything ended relatively early -- even sticking around to help with cleanup, we got out by 9ish. After stopping by home to change, we wandered out to Wadsworth House for a postrevel there. As always, that was rather boisterous, with lots of good (and loud) conversation, and a large platter of fudge that the company proceeded to demolish.

Today: Got woken up by work (shock, surprise). The migration to 2.0 started at 8am, and at about 9:20 I got a call that the DB conversion process had failed. I wound up consulting via IM for a while. In the end, it was completely minor -- just a typo in one of the conversion scripts that set a path incorrectly. After that, things seemed to be pretty uneventful. All in all, that went about as I'd expected: we'd tested the process thoroughly enough that I was confident that nothing would go seriously wrong, but if it had been completely smooth I would have been left wondering what I was missing. One minor glitch is just about par for the course when doing a big transition like this.

Rest of the day has been quiet. Watched the Pats squish the Browns (although I was oddly happy to see that the Browns' rookie QB wasn't *completely* crushed by our defense), raked some leaves, and (mainly) re-organized the game boxes, getting them properly arranged for the first time in about two years.

Coming up: Beginning of the month, so it's all going to get busy again.

Monday: Council.

Tuesday: Accademia. Phelan got a full-time job, so he's taking a leave of absence from Accademia and resigning as leader. So this is going to be a reorganization and review session. If you've been curious about Accademia, now is a great time to check it out.

Wednesday: Dance practice.

Saturday: Bergental Yule, and my company holiday party.

Sunday: Cook's Guild.

Next Monday: Lodge. We have a first degree, and I'm Senior Warden this year, so I'm going to have to do The Random Facts Lecture. Time to get studying again. (Masonic ritual has many lovely speeches. This isn't one of them. The Random Facts Lecture is a semi-random tour of the Lodge room, pointing out objects and describing each one's symbolic significance. I'm the best ritualist I know, and I can only keep this particular speech straight by resorting to medieval mnemonic techniques.)
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