I just got back from my pre-op appointment before hip surgery next Monday. There's only one hurdle left, and they took a swab to check for strep today, and I'll have the results tomorrow. So if all goes well, I should be back home again this time next week.
So there's some angsting around the internet that the current woes in Louisana are not getting the coverage it deserves, along with some political fingerpointing. Indeed, all very compelling to read - 20,000 homeless, 7 dead, certainly a tragedy for all those folks involved.

But then something occurred to me, so I went and looked:

Katrina: 1-2 million homeless (estimates vary quite widely), 1800 dead. Basically, 100 x the disaster the current problems are. Perhaps the news coverage isn't so off target after all. And saying things like "worst disaster since Hurricane Sandy" doesn't actually tell you much - just that things have been pretty quiet for a while.
The movement for using a cane is very similar to the one for using a poleax. The leg that goes forward is the shoulder that goes forward, with everything attached leading slightly. :)

And so my mom doesn't worry needlessly, deciding it's time to use a cane isn't caused by anything major happening. Cutting down on the stress the hip gets means less overall pain, which means I can keep the opiate intake down to a minimum before the hip surgery. (T minus 13 days and counting.)
... though this one is small. I got home from Pennsic to discover my keyboard had died. I went to Best Buy, and now am the proud owner of a ambient light keyboard. Same price as the Apple wireless keyboard I was going to buy, but no changing batteries, ever. Well, at least until Fimbulwinter, and even then, if there's electricity to power the lights, I should be good. :)
Another successful Pennsic in the books, it's time for the 21st Century Party. Come revel in the wonders of the modern and past ages, where nothing is Out Of Period. There'll be food, games, movies, and conversation, and hopefully Tales From Pennsic galore. I'm going to set up another Artemis game, so interested folks should bring their tablets/smart phones with the latest version, please.

Twentyfirst Century Party
Saturday, 20 August, 14:00 until the last person leaves
12 Melville Avenue, Boston 02124
I heard this story about marathon man. I suspect lots of the details are wrong. Don't care.

I'm told that early on, Olivier was not turning in a very good performance, no matter what the director and other actors tried. Eventually, the director called for a fifteen minute break, had a quiet talk with Sir Lawrence, and when they restarted, Olivier was spot on perfect.

So what did he say to the British acting icon? Apparently, something along the lines of "Larry, you've got to do it better."

Putting up the tent was like that today. Second time was the charm.
The pick-up is packed, the bills are paid, all the other odds and ends are taken care of. Time to trot. I'll see some of you Real Soon Now.
Today, for the first time in several years I think, I did not have to ask anyone to repeat themselves. I didn't quite get all the song lyrics I heard, but the one I missed was Bob Dylan, and you can't understand what he's saying either. :)

On Day 1 at least, the new hearing aids are great, and I'm told that they really don't hit their stride for a couple of weeks - apparently, it takes the brain a while to get used to hearing sounds again. Plus, they're eminently usable at events - if you look carefully, knowing that I'm wearing them, you might see the bit of filament that is visible to the naked eye - the battery/computer chip assembly is small enough that it fits behind the ear unseen, and the speaker bit is seated well down the ear canal.

Very expensive, but this is a case where one gets what one pays for, I think.
I was idly musing over what the results of a Johnson presidency would be, and one possibility would be that we could have more governent, not less, than the current situation.

The idea is this: the current situation is that no bill is veto-proof, because with a democrat in the White House and a sufficiently large Democratic minority in Congress, vetoes stand up. However, with a third party candidate in office, particularly one who's prepared to veto everything, you might end up in a situation where both major parties would actually have to negotiate a coalition, resulting in more bills passed than is currently the case. Thus, the arrival of a libertarian as president could well have the opposite effect of what the libertarians are currently trying to do.
I mentioned this wonderful story to a variety of people at 50th Year, but don't want to bother them by pinging them all individually. Anyway, here's a link to A Bloody Deed, the Adventures of Three Kids at Camp Shakespeare. It's a half hour long, but if you're a Shakespeare fan at all, totally worth it.
I'm not fighting this year at Pennsic. That's not a political statement - I love the folks currently running things, and the next-in-lines. But I currently have to take vicodin just to teach my class, and I'm not going to fight in that sort of altered state, even if it's a relatively mild one.

This will be the second Pennsic I haven't fought in, which makes things a bit easier. The first time was when I was just there for the middle weekend, and mostly stayed in camp - or so I'm told - at the tail end of my cancer treatment. I'm not much sure what happened then, but I am glad I went. This is going to be like that, but I hope I remember more. :) I still am going to teach my polearm classes the first week, and I'll still wander around a lot, but I suspect I oughtn't to be trusted even to marshal this time, though I will both make a decision then, and let the powers-that-be veto it if they don't like it.

Next Pennsic, for sure, Rocky.

(Aw, Bullwinkle ... )

ETA: Actually, this will be the fourth Pennsic I haven't fought at. I didn't go to the first two.
Apparently, getting a hearing aid can make you smarter. The idea is that brain function improves because the hearing loss caused you to spend a lot of resources filling in the missing information, and now you can use it for other tasks. I'd be glad of that, as I seem to both be getting slightly more forgetful about routine tasks, and having much larger problems remembering names. It'd be good to get some of that back, even just temporarily.
... I won't have faulty hearing to blame for it anymore. My set of spiffy new high tech hearing aids arrives 26 July, in time for me to use them at Pennsic.
I'm going to read the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf at Pennsic this year, beginning the middle Friday, for about a half hour each evening starting at 18:00. Anyone interested is welcome to join us. I camp at Tagmata, which is in W05.
I just took a vicodin for my hip pain. Now is not the time to continue an argument I'm having, or for that matter, read any of the responses. They'll still be there when I get home from my doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. Of course, making a blog post might not be so clever either. :)

I think sleep is what's called for here.
For an event I went to mostly because my friend Nicollette asked me if I wanted to reprise our adventures at 30th Year, I had a great time. The trip out and back went very smoothly, in easy stages. I ended up camping in Eastern Royal, mostly with a bunch of folks whom I only had nodding acquaintance with. That's changed, and I think I've found a bunch of new friends, and maybe even a poleax student. :) Stu did very well in a couple of tournaments on 15 minutes of instruction, finalling in one, and basically placing fourth in the other one.

The abovementioned polearm tournament leaves me in the perhaps hubristic position of thinking that I'm right and practically the rest of the Knowne World is wrong when it comes to properly fighting with a polearm, but I'll let you be the judge. First, practically everyone used weapons that were too long - generally 7'-7.5'. This meant they gave up half of what the weapon should be able to do - be a threat when you're in close with your opponent. And second the current fashion, so far as I can tell, is to start out by making the mistake of setting up in range. Doing so then requires your opening guard to be in pflug (bayonet stance). Practically every fight started the same - set up in range, do 3 thrust-dueling moves, and then try a cut of some sort. I ended up teaching several impromtu classes on easy ways to counter such tactics, and I'm glad to say, several of the students took it to heart and had some success.

My fighting, on the other hand, was limited to one day - and not too much at that. My hip is basically getting worse by the day. 22 August cannot come soon enough, so far as I'm concerned (for those of you not following along, that's the day I get my right hip replaced. Hopefully it'll go as well as the left.)

I liked the history exhibit a lot, and it brought back many memories. On the other hand, the Memorial Wall Of Shields made me very sad, not just for the people I knew on it, but for those who didn't have entries when they should have. We'll all be forgotten eventually - even Mullah Nasreddin will eventually be lost to the mists of time - but it was sad to see so many of my dead friends forgotten so soon.

I saw a lot of old friends, and not just the usual suspects from Pennsic, but several I hadn't seen in a long time, and had many conversations about the old days. I also spent quite a bit of time gaming and talking with my ex-wife, who has landed in Florida, and managed to put together a very good crew of people for her household. Both she and they are quite fortunate to have found each other. We started to become friends again at Carolingian 40th Year, and it's been an ongoing process. I think this was probably the first time I didn't feel completely self-conscious with how badly I behaved back in the day. While I wouldn't exactly say we were close friends yet, it now seems like that might be possible. I just wish I'd figured a way to do that much sooner.

I thought the event was reasonably well done. Yes, they got the schedule in the event book all wrong, and they had problems because they didn't survey the land properly beforehand - both things that it took Pennsic, an ongoing event, about a decade to get right, if I recall. I liked that the staff treated us all like adults, I loved that animals were allowed on site - horses are much better for ambience than golf carts - and I was _very_ appreciative of the washing stations outside the jakes. Though most of the food vendors were modern, The Gode Bakery was most excellent, and they got most of my custom. Allister thinks he'll never get the bakery into Pennsic, since it is now in direct competition with the Coopers', and if that's true, it is both very sad and not right, in my not-at-all-humble opinion.

I got off site one day to play golf with my friend Randy. It was a decent break from a week of medievalism, even if I had to take some percoset to finish the round. We were dead even the front nine, and he beat me by several strokes on the back once the drugs took effect. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

Campfires every night. That was fun. It's amazing how much a bag of wood holds, and the bag be large enough. :) The weather cooperated reasonably - only one day of rain. Some people complained of the heat, but I loved it.

I've come away with a short-, medium- and long-term goal from the event.

Short term: fix up some of the early OP. Some of that is easy - Bruce and Koppel are missing, and I think that's going to be a snap to fix. Harder is that I think the first King was Bruce and not Maragorn, and I expect that will take some argument.

Medium term - after I've healed up from hip surgery, I'm going to take up cut and thrust, at least enough to study some Silver, if for no other reason to use his principles of true fighting in my polearm instruction.

Long-term - I'm hoping to be mostly healed by my 61st birthday. I'm going to have one last hurrah at serious fighting, and go reasonably full-bore at it, and then formally retire at 65. I'll still teach, spar, and fight in a couple of battles at Pennsic each year, but I'm not going to beat myself up anymore from not fighting every chance I get.


So, all in all, it was an eventful Celebration for me. Hopefully, I'll still be around and of sound mind for the 75th. :)


Jun. 8th, 2016 10:36 pm
My hip replacement surgery is now scheduled for 22 August. I was originally hoping for just after Halloween, but my hip is making it's presence more and more felt, so doing it as soon as I could after Pennsic is a good idea. I'm going to bring my armor to both 50th Year and Pennsic, but in truth, I don't know how much fighting I'm actually going to get in. No Woods Battle, sadly. Hopefully, next year.
I am now in the pipeline for getting my right hip replaced. It'll happen sometime after our post-Pennsic twenty-first century party.
An acquaintance of mine is looking for a professional, because she wants to change her gait. That got me to thinking a bit about walking.

I know of three basic ways to walk. They all have pros and cons to them, and which you do ought to depend on circumstance.

(1) back foot lifts the heel, pushes off with the pad/toes, front foot lands heel first, then pad. Posture fairly upright.

advantages: you get a long stride, relatively quickly, with little effort, so this is good for covering distance fast.

disadvantages: coming down on your heel first doesn't use the foot to absorb shock, and so it can cause joint problems over time. It also lends itself to using shoes that have support of various kinds, which some people think lead to long-term weakening of the foot.

(2) back foot lifts and comes forward, lands on the pads of the feet. Either the heel never comes down, or it comes down very lightly. Again, posture is fairly upright.

Advantages: this is the gentlest way of walking. For martial artists, it's also what's normally meant by keeping light on one's feet - it's pretty easy to move around latterally, and never really get planted.

Disadvantages: much shortened stride, and it generally takes a bit longer per stride, so you don't cover the same amount of ground as in (1)

(3) Same as (2), except you keep your weight well forward, and when you lift your back foot up, swing your leg forward and let yourself fall forward onto it, pad first, heel little or none. This is what a boxer would call "falling step" and what a basketball player might call a drop step.

Advantages: all the stress of the step is taken up by the pad of the foot, as in (2). If you're fighting, it's one way to use your body to help power a strike. Additionally, your stride lengthens again to be like (1), and because you're constantly falling forward and saving yourself at the last moment, your pace becomes faster than (1), so you can go even farther in a shorter time than (1)

Disadvantages: you have to pay constant attention to what you're doing, or you'll fall over! I find that I also get tired a bit faster with this gait than with any of the others, though that might just be because I'm relatively new to it. And for those that care, you'll look a little goofy doing it. :)
My friend, long-absent Carolingian Rhys Fullenweider, is staying with us on Memorial Day (Monday, 30 May). We're having an open house get-together for anyone who wants to come visit from 14:00 until whenever people leave - Rhys is heading off sometime late Tuesday morning.

Light refreshments throughout the day, with something more substantial around dinnertime. RSVPs welcome, but a lack of one shouldn't stop you from showing up.
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