Wednesday, July 31, 2002

So, my patterns are getting good reviews from the eBay customers. Here is what one customer said:

"Dear Megan, I don't know if you invented this pattern on your own, or not...but it's the FIRST choli pattern I've used that fits so well. I've tried several. I am just absolutely thrilled with it. I've made 3 since I recieved Thursday. I just wanted to say thanks a lot!!! You did a great job with it."--mistresstherion

See what others are saying on my eBay feedback page. Needless to say, I am definitely moving forward with developing more patterns when I get back from Pennsic.

On another note, one of my friends just got back from Balkan music camp--I am so envious. I am glad she had a good time. Maybe next year. Or, maybe we will go to the Middle Eastern music camp, or Klezmer camp...

Monday, July 29, 2002

Hmmm....considering I have so much to do, I'm writing to my blog a lot, aren't I. Well, it's a therapeutic thing. Earlier this year, I told myself that I was not going to be frantically sewing garb on the eve of Pennsic, but alas, here I am in my workshop. Taking a break from my labors right now--my eyes get bleary from the close-up work. It's also literally like a sweatshop in here--it was 90 degrees today. I've got the big fan going and the jams on shoutcast pumpin' (the hard trance channels keep me moving). I thought I had all of my sewing obligations to other people done, but checked my todo list and realized that I still had a couple more things to do before I could resume sewing for the SO and myself. One would think that I would have plenty of garb for myself, but this is not the case. Even though I have been playing this game for six years now, I have yet to make a complete outfit that I am truly happy with. My problem has been lack of focus. I like too many different things, and so I have some Italien ren garb, some Elizabethan, started a Japanese Heian period outfit (but haven't gotten past the underwear yet), and of course, I'm building quite the collection of North African, Turkish, Middle-Eastern, Central Asian, and Indian garb....

Argh, this is going to be the longest week I've ever had at work this week--4 days until land grab. Just getting through this afternoon is going to be a challenge. I distracted myself by cleaning--now I can almost see the top of my desk. There are four copy-paper boxes full of trash outside my office now. I still had stuff from my day one at Transarc...oh, about 8 years ago. Every moment I spend here is one less moment I get to sew garb/pack for Pennsic. Rumor has it that there will be a cyber cafe at Pennsic this year. This is preposterous!!! Evenso, I will probably make use of it, so you might check back here in a week or so to find some Pennsic blogs!

Sunday, July 28, 2002 the 'puter fixed, got my car fixed, now I'm out of money, but had nothing to do this weekend except BE the machine that sews garb for Pennsic anyway. Visted granny in the ICU--no, she's not doing real well, but it's been like that the last couple of years, so I haven't bothered to say much about it. I think my mom is very gradually starting to accept the situation. She is graduating and getting her masters, but now has more time on her hands suddenly. I should put her to work for me;-) I' going to be busy busy busy this week.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Started reading the Stages of Meditation by the Dalai Lama, but it's really deep. I might put it aside until I read some of the Dalai Lama's other more introductory works...I have always been interested in Zen and Buddhism, ever since my teen years, but never practiced. I always had difficulty with some of the concepts and especially with "sitting still," but I am seriously going to try "sitting still" again.

Monday, July 22, 2002

So, having a dead 'puter at home sucks. And, just to add insult to injury, I've got more car problems. I wrecked my exhaust/muffler going over a bump, got it fixed at Monroe after arguing with them--they wanted to replace my whole exhaust system, but now the check engine light is on--fun, fun, fun. So I was driving the Other vehicle this weekend--the Bronco. Not my preferred ride. Anyway, did I mention that Ozzfest was rescheduled for this Wednesday, and I'm NOT going. I returned my tickets. It just wasn't meant to be. So, I owed my bro another birthday present and bought him the "Ozzy Live at Budokan" DVD--it's got some cool additional features on it. It's also really neat to see the performance in front of the Japanese audience--they are serious metalheads.

This has been a turbulent summer. I long for the summers of my childhood, when time had no meaning, I had no job, no projects to work on, no appointments...just the backyard pool and freezer pops to live on...12 days until landgrab.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Okay, so I almost totally forgot to mention that I picked up this really neat book at the airport--The Accidental Buddhist, by Dinty Moore. It is a humorous examination of Buddhism in America. I have read other "starter" books on Buddhism and Zen, but this one is the most realistic and practical one so far.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Okay, so more blog problems...the template I was using didn't like the last blog system upgrade so I changed it to the pink kitties one...
HOME--only to find that my desktop PC was DOA. Looks like I will be blogging from work only until I get it fixed.

Had a decent weekend, but really felt drained from teaching the previous week. Had a friendly, party-type get together at my house to celebrate my b-day and it was fun. Not as rowdy as the NYE party--and that was a good thing.

Still ticking the days to Pennsic and there are so few at this point--19. My choli class outline is far from complete, the "troupe" is really sweating over our dance number, and of course I'm still sewing sewing sewing...

Friday, July 12, 2002

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 3)

More cultural observations: Dunkin donuts is really big here...Jeeps/Trackers are popular among the young locals...everyone dresses casual...even at the height of tourist season, this place is very laid back. Even the people who work here look like they are on vacation. However, for being a "small touristy town" this place has a lot going on. Last night, I went on a walking Ghost Tour of historic downtown Newport. The narration was a little corny, but it was a great way to see lots of drippingly gorgeous buildings dating back to 1700. Walked through several cemetaries where the stones were so old most of the letters were worn away--very cool. I needed the walk because I had stuffed myself with sushi at the Seashai again. If I was staying until Saturday, I would visit the Newport Artillery Co.--the oldest military organization in the country, chartered back in 1741 by George II. It is a museum now run by re-enactors. I also regret having stayed in a large hotel chain, when I could have stayed in one of the many lovely historic B&Bs on Clarke St. On my way to the ghost tour, there was a "Shakespeare in the park" performance going on in Queen Anne's Square, put on by the Trinity Repertory Co. They were doing the Comedy of Errors in a very unconventional manner--everyone was dressed in very casual modern clothing, shorts and t-shirts, some actors had various hats hanging from utility belts that they used to play multiple characters...there was no set, other than the green grass of the park and the locals in their lawn chairs.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 2.1)

Some cultural observations about this region: despite the plethora of seafood, there aren't many sushi restaurants here...had to hunt this one down: Seashai...
a submarine sandwich is called a "grinduh"..."oystuhs" and "lobstuhs" are quite popular...something called "coffee milk" is beloved by gradeschool kids...and I would have to take out a second mortgage on my house to go shopping here.

Not the best b-day I could ask for...

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 2)

Last night, ate big pile of fried bivalves at Flo's Clam Shack--a Rhode Island institution. Today is my b-day and I'm still contemplating what to do, as my students are struggling through their lab exercises.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Travelog: Middletown/Newport, RI (Part 1)

Greetings from a beach town! I'm on a business trip this week, teaching a course on Linux, and I forgot my digital camera!!!!! otherwise I would be providing visuals...anyway, I ate seafood last night at Johnny's Atlantic Beach Club and put my toes in the sand. There's lots of history here (that I probably won't have time to explore), but it is quite beautiful.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Shanny is amazing...her and her dad installed the new tail lights on my integra. One of the taillights was cracked and broken for months and the replacements I had found were sitting in the box almost as long. It is doubly amazing because it was not a straight-forward job. I stOOpidly ordered "euro-style" lights--they are mostly clear rather than red like most American cars--and we did not notice at first that when I put on the brake it looked like I was backing up! DOH! That's where Shanny's dad came in for the re-wiring job. Now, lights come on in the right color, but still looks odd. I guess I just need to get the wide racing stripe and the neon "alien" landing lights, and the big rear air foil (and already got the "fatty" tail pipe)...

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Trying to get some stuff done before a business trip out of town and just not finding the motivation...spent the fourth at a party in McKees Rocks--house up on a high hill with an absolute, drop-dead, perfect view of downtown and the fireworks. Evenso, I am not that much into fireworks. "Cousin" Shanny is in town to keep me company and we are just kind-of lazing around the house and occasionally going out shopping, once to Artist & Craftsmen Supply in East Liberty--awesome art store and the only one I know of that sells Jacquard Products fabric paints and dyes.

Gee, that's not really exciting news, but maybe that's a good thing.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

A long holiday weekend approaches and I regret that I cannot go down to DC to see the Folk Life Festival. The theme this year is the Silk Road and there will be artisans and performances with a central Asian theme. I really am going to miss it. The Central Asian Dance Camp is happening there too this week. One of these days, I will have the time and funds to go to camps like this, but alas, I have a lot of work to do and errands to run this week.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

I need to exorcise an old demon here. I recently realized that I'm still very angry about something that happened years ago at my first Pennsic (about six years ago). I made the mistake of camping with the group known as the Tuchux . They are a fringe group, not really part of the SCA. At the time, I really wanted to get involved in the SCA but I only knew people in the Tuchux. They are not an historical reenactment group. They are loosely based on one of the Gor novels--The Nomads of Gor, I think, but they pretty much just make up the rules as they go along anyway. They have, let's say, a very "Taliban-like" attitude towards women. During events like Pennsic, women (or "wenches," as they are called) are not allowed to leave camp without an escort. Wenches are expected to wait on the men (or "dogs"). New members are subjected to hazing. People can be "bought" and "sold" as slaves. Needless to say, my first Pennsic was a NIGHTMARE.

  • Firstly, being new, I did not have the right clothes. One of my more benevolent clanmates, bless her, lent me some garb to wear, but I still got picked on a lot, and unlike people in the SCA, who would offer help to someone in less-than-acceptable garb, some of these people were cruel along the lines of high-school mentality.
  • Most of the dogs and even some of the older, established wenches expected me to act as a subordinate to them, follow orders and perform the more menial tasks around camp, such as cooking and cleaning. Wait, this is supposed to be my vacation, right?
  • Because he was new, my SO was put on guard duty most of the time. And even if he did have some time to spend with me, he did not qualify as a suitable escort, also because he was new. And because I didn't know that many other people, I was stuck in camp most of the time. There I was, at Pennsic, with a campground seething with nearly 10,000 people, merchants, and activities, and I was not at liberty to discover it.
  • And, just to make matters worse, I got severely sunburned.

So, why didn't we leave immediately? Well, we had no place else to go, and even if we did know anyone outside of Tuchux camp, it was too late to uproot our tent and move it elsewhere. This was our vacation--what else could we do? I literally BEGGED the chieftan, with tears in my eyes, to let us go out and have some time to ourselves, but he was completely insensitive to our problem. His answer was "these are the rules and if you don't like it, tough." However, let me just qualify it by saying that these were his rules. I spent the week watching these "rules" be violated by others with impunity. There were double standards, subject to the whims of those in power. I saw exceptions being made, but he was not going to make one in my case. We packed up in the rain and left before the week was over. I was angry at myself for being taken in like that, and I will never forgive the Tuchux for ruining my vacation. The let-down feeling we had lasted for a long time--even to this day.

If you ever talk to a Tuchux about their little "game," they'll tell you it's all in fun. It's fun for the "established" members at the expense of their underlings, submissives, and any new people they manage to rope into it. I admit that not all of them were a**holes--some of these people were really nice and would've made good friends, and it really hurt to have to break things off with them. But there were some who went too far. This is not just a game for them--this is the way they are all the time--mysogynist, chauvenist, cruel. The Tuchux give them an outlet.

Recently, I was confronted by a couple in the Tuchux who are good friends to the SO and I, but I could not deal with their passive acceptance of the Tuchux order, especially from another woman. Whenever she said, "oh, it's all just a game, it's all just for fun..." it invalidates me. It's as if my painful experience never happened and it was all in my imagination. I do not think that it is right or healthy for a group to exist with rules like that, even if it is just a game. Even pretending to have attitudes like that towards women--I think it's wrong.

There, I've said it. Now, maybe I can move on. It's amazing that we did make it back to Pennsic after all that. We found another household to camp with the next year, and actually had a good expierence. Now this will be my sixth Pennsic. Only 32 days until land grab...

Monday, July 01, 2002

It was refreshing to see GOOD art at FLUX. I was impressed with all of it and I think they put on a really good show. Most of the work appeared to come from the local community and African American subject matter was prevalent--a lot creativity, spirit, inspiration and heart. This was a breath of fresh air after the tepidness of the Pittsburgh Arts Festival. I didn't stay long enough to hear all the bands, but what I heard was very good. And, they had good beer--apparently a donation from the Church Brew Works.
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