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

Diary -- K&Q Bardic

Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishes. We're okay; frankly, I think that the relatively ritual-intense way ladysprite deals with euthanasia intensified the experience, but also led to better closure and faster healing. It's still rather strange being down to just one cat -- there are still twinges when I see only one food dish there -- but we seem to be past the worst of it.

In general, this was a surprisingly good week at work. I got handed a project in an area that I knew next to nothing about (ASP.NET web services), that really should have been done by one of the other engineers, save that he's on vacation for the next several weeks and we need it now. From a standing start Tuesday morning, I managed to get fully up to speed, refactored the structures that were already in place to a new reflection-based approach that will make it much faster to add new services, and got most of a new API implemented. More satisfying than I expected, and very much what I needed.

Monday: Council. Our boiler has been getting increasingly erratic, so I stayed home to get the repair people in, instead. Whereupon it didn't fail Monday evening, and they refused to come unless it was actually out. Oh, well -- I needed the evening off.

Tuesday: Worked from home in the afternoon, and got them to actually come in and fix the damned thing. Evening was Accademia, which was pleasant although not what we'd planned. The theory was that we were going to have a re-organizational and review meeting. Instead, Harald showed up to talk about the Nonesuch project, and that led to so much conversation that I only got us back on track by saying (firmly), "I'd like to dance now." So we didn't actually have the organizational discussion. And we started out by "reviewing" Occhi Leggiadri, which actually turned into spending the rest of the session finishing and cleaning up this singularly odd little dance. That said, it was a fun, low-stress evening, and we got something accomplished, so I count it as a win.

Anyone interested in dance: the 3rd-Tuesday January session of Accademia will be dedicated to the English Country dance Nonesuch -- we're going to compare and contrast several different reconstructions, as part of Harald's attempt to figure out how he thinks it's done. It's expected to be less about the reconstruction process, and more about trying out existing reconstructions. We need at least eight people for this, so if you're willing to come have a fun evening trying out the dance, please tell me or one of the other Accademia regulars.

Wednesday: Exhausted. Not precisely sure why -- I may be fighting off the cold that's been going around. Got halfway through dance practice and was *still* largely unable to keep my eyes open, so came home.

Thursday: Comet's last day, which I've talked about in far more detail already.

Friday: Dinner date at Sato.

Saturday: Bergental Yule, AKA King and Queen's Bardic Champions. (Lord, we need a better name for that.) As I often find, traveling to an out-Barony event was pleasantly relaxing: I don't feel responsible for any work aside from some basic chair-carrying and the like. So I largely spectated, and did a bit of game research in the cracks. (I realized that Cotton's description of Hazard doesn't quite match my previous understanding of it, and the Alfonso version of the game is very different.)

It was a fun event, held at the western-Mass Shrine Hall, Melha Temple. This site is much smaller than Aleppo Temple, but also much homier, a very good site for a mid-sized event like this. The competition and court were held on the stage, with the audience mainly on the parquet floor in front of that, and the merchants scattered around the periphery of the room. For a change, most of the event was decently respectful of the on-stage activities: they only had to ask people to quiet down once.

I watched most of the competition, although I missed some performances. The level was quite high, and the average better than I'd expected, with only a few real clunkers. I would have considered any of the eight semi-finalists to be reasonable candidates for Royal Bard; indeed, they wound up with five finalists, because they couldn't narrow it down to four. The musicians didn't fare well -- the finalists were essentially two comics, two skalds and one mixed-bag bard -- OTOH, the Crown had apparently been explicit that they have a personal preference for spoken word, so I suppose that's reasonable.

In the end, they wound up giving something to each of the finalists. One of the skalds became King's Champion; one of the comics Queen's Champion. cristovau was appointed Court Jester. (Very appropriately, I have to say, given his performances -- his second round was an utterly inspired off-the-cuff versification of The Kelson Incident at Pennsic last year, and he was generally favoring the goofy.) emerlion was inducted into the Order of the Manche -- that had been planned, but they rearranged the order of events since it was clearly the right time to do it. And the remaining finalist was inducted into the Order of the Troubadour. Despite the "everyone must get prizes" overall effect, I thought each recognition was appropriate, and it made a good conclusion to the activity.

Court followed "immediately" after, for a rather severely attenuated definition of "immediately"; in reality, it started around 5pm. There were several Carolingia-related items of business:
  • Brigit of Longwood received her AoA.

  • So did Richard of Glasgow. (I think; I'm *horrible* with names. He's a dance practice regular, but a very quiet fellow.)

  • cristovau was named Court Jester, as previously mentioned.

  • And Caryl de Trecesson was elevated to the Laurel.

The latter was the principal reason we'd come to the event -- we've known Caryl for as long as we've been in the Society, and this is well-earned. She was sent off to vigil early in the event, way up in a garret at the top of the building. (Very pleasant space, actually.) I did The Vigil Thing at the start, chatting a bit with her, Thora, Henry and eventually msmemory before wandering off.

As it happens, I wound up speaking for the Laurels. Vis did an especially impassioned speech for the Chivalry; Kobi represented the Pelicans; and Mara read a letter from 'Speth for the Roses. All in all, it was a good ceremony, with each of us individually hitting the key point that Caryl has done a remarkable amount of work in a remarkable number of different arts for a remarkably long time.

The plan for the day had been that we were going to go from the event to my company Christmas party. When the plan was originally conceived, I figure that we would be leaving at 6, maybe 6:30, so this made sense. In practice, we didn't get out of the hall until nearly 8pm (Court not only started late, it was pretty inefficient), and we decided to punt -- at best, we could get to the party at 9:30 or worse, and that only by skipping dinner. So I'll make my apologies at work tomorrow.

Finished off the day by finishing Mirror Dance, which is right up there with The Warrior's Apprentice for my favorite Vorkosigan book so far. I was a bit surprised: everyone had made a big deal about how dark the book is, but I didn't find it so much so. No, it's not as cheery a boy's adventure story as some of the previous volumes, but I really didn't think it was all that much worse than parts of the Cordelia books. And I find that I come out rather liking Mark -- he's at least as insane as Miles, but evolves a rather charming sense of self-awareness over the course of the story. I always like stories where the protagonists really grow, and I've seen few where someone grows as much as Mark does in this one.

Today: Lodge rehearsal this morning, which was a complete debacle. I stopped at Krispy Kreme on the way, and let myself be talked into buying a dozen, on the theory that I wanted to have enough for everyone. I needn't have worried -- only five officers showed up, and one of them wasn't even involved in this month's degree. I need to kick butt at the meeting: we pride ourselves as being good at ritual, but that's not going to keep up if people don't come to rehearsals.

We both decided to punt Cooks' Guild this month, for different reasons. msmemory is in the middle of a very large book that is due very soon, so she needed to dedicate the afternoon to work. And I can tell that I'm still dancing on the ledge of burnout, and needed a quiet afternoon -- the first two weeks of the month are always the hard ones, without enough downtime. So she read her book, and I read LJ, and we both watched the Pats beat the Bengals, and I made some bread. (Pumpernickel, from one of the King Arthur Bread Base packs I bought a while back.)

Upcoming:

Monday: Lodge. First degree, so I have to give The Random Facts Lecture. I *think* I have it back in my head again.

Wednesday: Dance practice. Hopefully, I'll be awake this time.

Saturday: ladysprite's birthday party.
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