Knightriders

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:30 am
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[personal profile] jducoeur

In the news today are a bunch of obits for director George Romero. Pretty much all of them focus on Night of the Living Dead, and to be fair, it's the work he is best known for.

But let's pause a moment and remember his movie Knightriders -- the closest thing the SCA has to its own motion picture. Legend (maybe true, maybe not; I honestly don't know) has it that Romero happened to attend a particular SCA Crown Tournament, and was swept up by the drama he saw there; his producers weren't thrilled by the idea, and said, "Enh -- maybe if you add motorcycles and a good soundtrack, we'll think about it". So he did.

Knightriders has always been on my personal list of Movies Every SCAdian should see. Not because the club portrayed is the SCA, mind. It very much isn't: it's essentially a traveling RenFaire where they joust on motorcycles. But the feel of the group, I've always thought, reflects the SCA beautifully. You have the folks who are dead-serious about The Dream, who see something better in the ideals of their club. You have the stick-jocks who are here for the sport and the babes. You have the craftsmen who are making it all possible, and, yes, you have the folks who are just here to party. (There's even poor Patricia Tallman, better known for Babylon 5, in her first major role as the token mundane who is enamored by the whole thing but doesn't quite seem to get it.)

The movie gets a bit full of itself at times, and some people mock it mercilessly, but I love it -- not least for Ed Harris (in my favorite of his roles) as King Billy, who is trying desperately to keep his people both safe and united, and to pursue his dreams while everything around him is falling apart. He is a wonderful study in obsession, illustrating both the advantages and problems of having a strong leader.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's not the most brilliant movie ever, but it's wonderfully human. For pretty much every character in it, I can say, "Yeah, I know folks just like that". That's one of the higher compliments I can pay a director...

Pinewoods 2017 report

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:00 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Pinewoods 2017 report

If I were really good, I would try dividing it up into chunks of ESC, Session 1, and Session 21, but I'm not that good. So have a jumbled together report of my last two weeks. I'm not writing it in any sort of order, so the footnotes might beare all jumbled up.

AWESOME:
*So um redacted redacted redacted hour kissing on the dock redacted redacted. Also this is the second time in three months where I have taken photos of me kissing a cute girl and sent them to her girlfriend.

*Dave Wiesler is the absolute best at writing music. His bandleading night in session 1, I mostly couldn't actually dance due to a twingy ankle (and I am gentler about that when there's five more nights of dancing than I would be otherwise), but that meant I spent some good time just hiding behind the bandshell catnapping and listening to just fucking magnificent music. I want want desperate want a recording of his Joie de Vivre set, it was just *magical*.

*FOUR SQUARE ON THE RAFT IS THE NEW BEST GAME AT PINEWOODS! And of course, we invented/found this game and the weather immediately got grumpy and rainy and Scottish and no one wanted to go play in the water anymore so we never played again. But there was like an hour and a half of it on Sunday.

*Also redacted details but one of my favourite comets3 and I get to see each other at Pinewoods every year, and this year was just _super_ good for it. Also, yes, it is absolutely possible to fit two people into the single4 bed in Kitty Alone, you just have to be very friendly and accept that one of y'all might have the windowsill digging into their leg the whole night. Luckily no one is sleeping very long at camp.

*Fred is SUCH AN AWESOME HIGHLAND TEACHER! We covered two dances in two days during session 1, and then refined one of them and learned another two dances in session two. Somehow I have now reached the point where I was in the demo set for things, which is terrifying, considering that everyone else in the demo set is either Triona (who started at the same time as me but actually practices and is good at Highland) or people who've been competing for like fifteen years.

*I mostly did not go to any classes except Highland, but I did make it to the cross-step waltz class, which was really good! It had one variation that I'd never seen before, some more practice on grapevines (which I suuuuck at), and there was about a ten second "and also pivots exist" near the end which I managed to corner Keira and get actual info about and then I did some real pivots with Val and internalized them well enough to teach them to Stephen and Alex. Now, these are all three super competent dancers, but I still felt pretty proud of myself and will try to throw those in next time I lead cross-step.

*The hardest part about doing secret rehearsals for secret Abbots Bromley is then not whistling the tune for the next three hours and giving away the secret. Also, our fool was complimented both times on their ability to hit the triangle in an appropriate and not overwhelming manner. Alsoalso, the fact that the Abbots Bromley is traditionally taught to Scottish dancers by being dragged into the woods by a veritable wizard is basically the Best Thing. Alsoalsoalso, I don't know what you are talking about I was definitely not part of any of this weird English ritual nonsense.

*I GOT TO DRESS LIKE ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX AND HIT ON EARTH PEOPLE FOR LIKE AN HOUR AND A HALF AND IT WAS AMAZING AND I HAD SO MUCH FUN IT WAS SO GOOD EVERYTHING IS SO GOOD!

GOOD:
*Spent like four hours in what felt kinda like a con panel where we talked about old drama (and I (re?)learned a story that's important for me to know and now I have a clearer picture instead of just details) and the progression from gamergate to trump supporters and a bit of just tragic personal history of a friend of mine. It was a cozy night! Sad that all the stories were sad, but the greater world is sad right now, and Callahan has an adage about the importance of shared pain.

*Had very _very_ low amounts of polydrama/jealousy going on. This doesn't *always* happen at Pinewoods, and I swear there's a lot of camp beyond kissing people, but when you consider that I actively resisted camp for at least two years before originally going because I didn't want to be a seventh wheel, it's cool to have a year where all the relationships were able to be content with each other.

*I taught a workshop about "SCD for Crew"! It was about an hour, and I went into it wanting to cover five main things: the five basic Scottish steps, quicktime pousettes, allemandes, at least one corner figure, and dancing something without cues. We got through all those things! It helps that crew tends to have a crazy high dance ability!

*Speaking of crew, there were two nineteen year olds who I spent time with, both of whom make me very confused since I'm pretty sure I was in no way that chill or competent when I was nineteen. I want to be friends with both of them and am not sure I am cool enough to be so, also they apparently told other people I was awesome which just ???!??!!?

Apparently I'm getting old enough to have people look up to me, which is kinda nice and also ??!??!???.

*RAPPER RAPPER RAPPER I GOT TO DO RAPPER AND IT'S MY FAVOURITE DANCE FORM AND GODDAMNIT I WANT TO FORM A RAPPER TEAM GUUAHHHHHHH. Okay I just looked it up and it's like £35 a sword but I'm actually weirdly okay with the idea of sometime dropping $230 on this once I have a Real Job in order to facilitate having a team I want to do rapper _that bad_.

*Also our rapper teacher tried Scottish for the first time at ESC, and he did well and it was very charming and fun, *and* our Scottish teacher tried Contra for the first time and she had fun and THIS IS WHAT ESC IS FOR AND THIS IS WHY IT'S THE BEST SESSION!

*During Scottish I had two separate moments where I felt the need to subtweet about someone and instead just went ahead and told him because that makes more sense and is less drama-inducing. Plus, I only have one ex-boyfriend who's since gotten married, so like, if I talk about feeling compersion towards him and his wife, that's not really subtle and he knows it's him.

(The second spoken subtweet involved the phrase "bad decision hot" and no I'm not telling you any more about it.)

*I had two separate trips to Little Long Pond, both excellent in their own way. The first involved taking newfriends Austin and Phoebe during ESC, at which point we found out that the canal was much lower than normal and we had to tie up our canoe and wade through (this was awesome). On our way back, we touched two separate bouys in regular long pond. It is worth noting that due to pub night exhaustion, we were definitely only going to touch the canoe, not get into it, and definitely not paddle clear to the other side of the lake.

The second time was jere7my and I kayaking, which meant we were able to get out and port the kayak over the little waterfall and then do the canal properly. We saw a frog, and a tiny turtle, and we chased a green heron a bit and then we saw AN OTTER!!!! jere7my took some pictures!

*For the Star Wars vs Star Trek ball, I had Lise do up my hair in exquisite Leia buns, and I wore glitter and my Leiaish dress. I looked very beautiful and the buns did not come out despite doing Scottish dancing and later stilt-walking.

*The number of people catching and using my pronouns was magnificent. Also, I'm quite amused by some friends asking if it was okay if they used "she-shit-they" as my pronoun, as it was inevitably what happened. I will absolutely accept sheshitthey as my pronoun, yes, as I have used it myself occasionally by accident.

(Misgendering yourself is weird.)

MEH:
*I had a job interview on changeover day between session 1 and session 2. It was...I mean, it was a phone interview and it only lasted about twenty minutes but I think I answered all of their questions well and I think I asked good questions of my own. I should be hearing back from them sometime this week upcoming maybe.

*Was in a ceilidh act attempting to hexify a Scottish square. It went solidly okay. Extra difficult in that one of our people didn't show up so I pulled my dance-sister Connie in on absolutely zero warning. I think this would make a better workshop than ceilidh for the future.

BAD:
*Fucked up both my acts in the session 1 ceilidh, neither in ways anyone else would notice or care about. Felt...really bummed out about it, and got super quiet and brainwarped, which eventually culminated in me vanishing for a long while and eventually sobbing on the dock for a bit at one AM, because that's kinda what you do at Pinewoods at least once.

*I always feel a little weird that I basically never go to classes at Pinewoods. I think I pretty consistently average 1.5 classes a day or less, and inevitably the bulk of that is either Highland or Rapper.

*People seemed pleased by my classes on basic SCD technique during ESC, but I very much did not. I don't think I prepared well enough for them or did a good enough job teaching, and I especially fucked up the last day something thorough (in no small part to the complete lack of sleep beforehand). I suspect a lot of this is me being Too Hard on myself, but I also suspect that me being Too Hard on myself counts as bad even if sucking at teaching doesn't.

*Speaking of rapper, I managed to hit someone I like and respect very much in the face with a rapper sword because sometimes this sort of shit happens but also god_damnit_. She was very gracious.

*I managed to put my open water bottle into my bag at one point, which was a Dumb Idea. My camera got the brunt of the damage --it's completely broken, despite spending most of a week in a tub of rice (thank you crewwww). So I'll have to look into a new digital camera, siiiigh.

UGLY:
I am really sad that I have to put any notes into this category, because this is significantly worse than the bad category. But there you have it.

*There was a pretty blatant transphobic joke made by the bandleader and two of the musicians Wednesday night. Like, two dudes dressing up as women, being introduced as "our guest musicians [feminized versions of their names]" by the bandleader and a lot of wink-wink-nudge-nudge laughter involved. It was not okay, and I'm not looking forward to having to fight at the next TMC2 meeting about how this was Not Okay and how we need to explain that to the people involved.

(But I'm looking even less forward to being a part of a community where transphobic jokes are able to be the norm.)

*************

Overall I had a REALLY REALLY good time, which is pretty typical for me. I enjoyed myself and played games and saw and made good friends and fucked about in a canoe and swam and so much dancing!

I am already looking forward to next year. <3

~Sor
MOOP!

1: ESC = English Scottish Contra session at Pinewoods! Also called ESCape. Session 1 and Session 2 = the two official Scottish sessions at Pinewoods.

2: TMC is the Teaching and Music Committee of the Boston RSCDS branch. RSCDS is the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. I'm a part of TMC both naturally and because someone from the Highland Ball needs to attend their meetings. We're the peeps who pick the MCs, Musicians, and Teachers for events like Pinewoods.

3: Comet is a term starting to appear in some branches of the poly community. It refers to someone who briefly comes into your life on a periodicish basis, and who you don't really date or communicate much with in between, but are always happy to pick back up where you left off. This particular comet started as my "James Dean relationship"3.a, and I adore him something fierce.

3.a: Live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse. We went from zero to sexytimes in about a date and a half, we broke up after six months (both knowing it was coming; he was moving far away), we stayed friends. And sometimes more than friends.

4: Did you know that there is a name for the size of bed smaller than twin? Yeah, it's single. Singles are _very_ small.

100 Demon Dialogues

Jul. 12th, 2017 01:19 pm
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[personal profile] jducoeur

For the past several months, Lucy Bellwood (author of the delightful nautical graphic novel Baggywrinkles: A Lubber's Guide to Life at Sea) has been posting a series of single-panel comics titled 100 Demon Dialogues. You can find the full series here.

They are little vignettes of conversation between herself and her inner demon, a personification of all the insecurities and doubts that any creative person (really, any person) is prone to. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, frequently thought-provoking, they're one of the better reflections of basic inner life that I've seen.

The series ended today, and the much-demanded Kickstarter opened at the same time. She's collecting the cartoons into a book (both soft and hardcover), and producing a plushie little demon.

There's a fun little cartoon on the Kickstarter page that introduces the project. I'm getting both the book and plushie -- frankly, I had decided that I wanted the collected book even before she announced that she was going to do a Kickstarter for it. I want it for my own personal reflection, but I suspect it may also be an good book for helping kids work through their feelings and understand that grown-ups aren't as secure as all that, so parents may particularly want to give it a look.

Check it out, and spread the word: it looks like it's going to be a great result, from a fine artist who is really hitting her stride...

jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

Okay, yes -- complaining about how creepy Facebook can be is shooting fish in a barrel.

Still, I was taken aback by the notification I just got there. Un-asked-for, it popped up with, "You last updated your profile 2 weeks ago." Which, on the one hand, is just a statement of fact. But it's a statement loaded with connotation.

Seriously -- why is Facebook telling me this? When I have something I care to say on my Profile, I say it. I don't need reminders -- I certainly don't need automatic, non-opt-in reminders after only two weeks of profile inactivity. And mind you, this isn't saying "you haven't posted" -- I post to FB moderately often. This is saying that I haven't revealed new and updated information about myself.

There's a weird sense that FB is trying to guilt-trip me for not being sufficiently naked: that the system and the audience have the right to know everything that happens in my life, and that if a whole two weeks have gone by without updating my profile, something is clearly wrong.

Yes, it's a little thing. But it's the combination of all those little things that remind me of why I dislike and distrust Facebook...

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