Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Diary Entry (long)

All right, it's been a week or so since the last one of these. Let's see, what's happened since then...

Last Wednesday: Dance practice was a special session on contradance, and got its own entry.

Last Thursday: Start of a brief quiet period. msmemory and I are finally catching up on the Horatio Hornblower movies that we taped months and months ago. They're rather fun, although watching them at the same time as reading the Miles Vorkosigan books produces some of the most interesting comparisons. They're so alike in many ways, but different in some truly key ones (in particular, the ability to follow orders, and respect for senior officers in general).

Last Friday: Weekly date with msmemory. Excessive pasta consumed at Olive Garden. I need to remember that the little beepers they give you consider the back of Barnes and Noble to be out-of-range -- the silly thing started complaining at me in the middle of the science fiction section, playing the first strains of some symphony (I forget which) loudly, over and over again until I went to the front of the store.

Saturday and Sunday: I'm sure that there was a weekend there, but for the life of me, I don't remember what I did. Which probably means I needed the sleep. (Edit: msmemory reminds me that we had Baronial Order Meetings on Sunday.)

Monday: Quiet evening at home. Which was slightly unfortunate, in that I completely forgot that Mt. Scopus Lodge was having a rehearsal for the degree on Wednesday. It's not my primary Lodge, but I had managed to remember quite well that their rehearsals are Tuesday. However, due to a scheduling conflict it got moved to Monday this month. Gah -- this is the degree I know least-well, and the one that the other officers most needed the review of. I'm kicking myself for forgetting, but by the time the Master called and pointed out that everyone was there, it was too late for it to be worthwhile for me to go down there. I'll just have to wing it...

Tuesday: Well, since I don't have a rehearsal, we wound up with a quiet evening at home. (Fourth Tuesdays are currently Buffens practice; that's fun, but I've found that it's hard on my feet, so I've been giving a pass to it this time around. Besides, I need a little more downtime.)

Wednesday: Third Degree at Mt. Scopus Lodge. Two candidates, one of them an SCA friend: Master William fitzBubba. Bubba asked me about joining about six months ago -- he'd heard the ads for the Masonic "One-Day Class" (which deserves a rant unto itself), and called me, somewhat annoyed and confused by it. His family are old-line Masons, and he wanted to make sure that things hadn't changed that much; in the course of the conversation, he asked to join in the traditional manner. Since he lives in Malden, fairly close to Mt. Scopus, I suggested that he join there, instead of at my main Lodge (Hammatt Ocean in Saugus).

Anyway, the degree went neither as well as I'd hoped nor as badly as I'd feared. Most of the officers mostly knew their lines, but as I'd worried they were pretty shaky on the floorwork. They'd asked me to fill in as Senior Deacon, which is the ritual linchpin for most of the degrees -- the SD doesn't have the most lines, but he's the guy who escorts the candidate around and shows him what to do, as well as guiding him through the rituals. While I know the second degree intimately (I've done SD for about six years in one lodge or the other, and the SD dominates the second degree), I don't know the third nearly as well -- Hammatt Ocean always does the Third Degree as a Past Masters' Night, with all the active Masters from previous years doing the various roles, and there's another guy who always does the SD. So I haven't done this bit in about five years. Fortunately, I have a very good memory for ritual.

The Master had assured me that the Stewards (who work very closely with the SD in the third degree) were "older members who've done this lots of times". Hah! As I realized when I got there, they were indeed "older members" (both around 80ish, I believe), but not experienced ones. They managed to mostly follow my lead, but I had to do a fair about of quiet hissing and pointing to get them into the right places. They wisely promoted the Junior Warden (who is fairly good with ritual) into the Senior Warden's seat for the night -- the current Senior Warden is a nice guy, but hasn't yet got the hang of how to learn his lines. The Master mostly did a good job himself -- if he can ever learn to keep his nerves under control, he has the makings of a very good ritualist. (He does fine until he gets nervous, at which point he blanks his lines.) The men at the south, west and east gates (special parts just for this degree, vital to its intensity) really were old, highly experienced past Masters, and did a fine job. The emblems (a very long, highly symbolic speech at the end of the degree) was done by Dr. Foo, who got me into Masonry in the first place, and who did a great job as always.

As with the previous degrees, Bubba was wonderfully self-possessed, and showed every sign of actually grokking what was going on. This is a nice change of pace: many candidates can neither get into the spirit of the rituals, nor understand the rather archaic language, so escorting someone who understood what he was doing was very encouraging. Paul, the other candidate, was fairly normal -- he went along with it fine, but I don't think he absorbed as much of it, and had a bad habit of giggling when the ritual got intense. Pity, but typical.

I'm a tad annoyed at myself for not doing a charge to the candidates. This isn't required in the ritual, but is a habit in most Lodges: one of the past Masters does some sort of inspirational and symbolic speech, sometimes improvised but often taken from one of a number of set texts. Scopus didn't do a charge at all, which is a pity -- IMO, if done well it caps the evening well. Carl Atlas of Ocean Lodge used to do The Canadian Charge, which is both dramatic and apropos if done properly; I think I need to learn that and keep it in my back pocket for such times.

Thursday: Decided to go over to mindways's for Gaming Night. I had originally declined due to too many evenings out, but having wound up home both Monday and Tuesday I figured I might as well. He taught me two games: Dicewars Space, a fun and surprisingly strategic new game from Garfield (we split, one game each) and Ticchu, a four-player partnered oriental card game, somewhat similar to The Great Dalmuti but with a lot more depth (we stopped before the game ended, but the other team was ahead). Both games were excellent, and worth playing again.

Upcoming events:

Tonight (Friday): snarkyman's bachelor party, organized by siderea. This looks to be fairly esoteric, but very in-character: Blue Man Group, sushi and LAN gaming.

Saturday: The Uno de Mayo party over at Wadsworth House.

Sunday: May Day, which looks to be a pleasant and relaxing day out.

Monday: Council.

Tuesday: Accademia.

Wednesday: Dance Practice.

Thursday: Breathe...

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