Old Daily Shows--July 2001

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Tuesday July 31, 2001 Memories of St. Lawrence Park

Last week, on Tuesday, I went to bagpipe practice in Canada. That week, we had practice in Brockville, at the St. Lawrence Park, which is a nice place to play. It's pretty and green, right on the St. Lawrence river, which makes it all nifty and aptly named. So, normally I get there just prior to band practice, which leaves no time for wandering around. On Tuesday, I had to pick something up in Potsdam, and after I'd gotten it, I just headed north, about a half hour early.

It was hot, but I had some good tunes playing on the CD player (Catriona MacDonald, Chris Layer, various others), so I didn't really care all that much. Oh, yes, the air conditioning in the car helped, too. Got across the border quickly enough, smiling at the border guards. Made it to Brockville quite early, so I got out and walked around a little bit. Back in the day, by which I mean "two years ago", I didn't drive myself to band practice, and I wasn't playing with the full band, so I sat around and wandered the park while waiting for my ride to leave. I thought it would be nice to have a chance to get back into touch with the place.

The bathrooms were just as dirty and smelly as I'd remembered them--one of the true cross-cultural things that shows the brotherhood of mankind is that no matter where you go, public bathrooms are likely to be a seriously unpleasant experience. Well, anyway. Got outside, and there was the park like I remembered it. Erika Kelly and her parents and I used to stand on that dock down there, feeding stale bread to the mergansers that inhabit the cove. It took them a while to warm up to me, but eventually Erika (who was a good many years younger than I am, and is now winning competitions on pipes in grade 5--I'm very proud of her) decided to talk to me, and her parents followed soon behind. They moved away at the end of last summer; perhaps I'll see them in Maxville. That'd be nice. They were good people, and I liked them.

So, that was the dock. Walked through the swingsets, where a lot of people were swinging with their young children. wooosh goes a small child through the air, and it's neat to watch them, because they're still totally captivated by the experience of flying. You should have seen their eyes. It was neat--most of the families there were darker-skinned folk than you usually see. I guessed they might be of Indian or Pakistani descent, but I didn't ask. I just sort of stood around and watched them for a while, probably wearing that little half-smile that I apparently wear a lot. Walked through the sand, and felt it running over my sandals and getting in between my toes.

There's a kind of bunker on the grounds of the park that has the noise of machinery in it. I'd never looked at it much before, but I had some time, so I took a look. No labels anywhere on the building, but I found a window and surreptitiously looked into it--reminded me of the days in elementary school when the group of us would sneak into the basements at SUNY Potsdam and run around, thrilled by our ability to evade capture by the janitors who, quite probably, didn't notice our presence. Anyway, this building houses lots of pipes and, presumably, pumps. It's got a movable gantry crane inside it. Weird.

I kept walking, and followed a little path along the rocks above the seaway. I happened upon some young teenagers sitting at a table. They started giggling a lot when I got there, and one, speaking in an artificially low voice, asked "How ya doin?" "Fine, thanks." I kept walking, having smelled something suspiciously like marijuana smoke. I figured that they didn't want me around. Heh. Anyway, I kept walking, and watched the ducks for a while, and finally got to the beach.

I'd been looking forward to the beach--my feet were tired and hot, and I thought of taking off my sandals and walking through the shallow water to cool off. I thought it strange that, on a hot day in the middle of summer, the beach would be deserted, when the rest of the park was filled with people. I went and looked at the board of rules for the beach, and remained unenlightened--nothing but the standard NO RUNNING ON THE DOCK and such. Weird. I turned to go back to the water's edge, and saw a large sign on corrugated plastic that had been dug into the sand.

It said that it was dangerous to swim in the water, that unusually high bacteria levels in the water had forced the authorities to recommend against swimming, since they felt that contact with the bacteria would be detrimental to the public health. I later found out that entire portions of the seaway are closed to human contact this summer, because of bacteria.

Do you suppose that high bacteria populations have always happened, and that we just have sufficiently sensitive equipment today to allow us to develop fears about them? Perhaps there's a 37-year cycle of high and low bacteria in the waters of the St. Lawrence, and we just never knew about it. People have been swimming in there for years, with relatively few problems. I wonder whether knowing that the bacteria are present causes us to declare the water unsafe, without going to the trouble of finding whether or not the bacteria are harmful.

I don't know, of course, but it's certainly plausible. Try this if you don't believe me. Cook dinner for someone, or take him out to dinner, and after you've let him get part-way through the meal, lie to him and tell him that some ingredient you used had sported mold, but you cut all of it off and it's fine now, or that the sister restaurant of the one in which you're dining was recently shut down by the department of health because someone got salmonella poisoning there after eating improperly prepared whatever-it-is-he's-eating. Try that, and then decide whether or not other people's opinions change your own. If you want a closer example, try it with something like bread--serve a bunch of it to someone, and then start talking about how the USDA is bringing suits against a number of prominent yeast salesmen because of high levels of fungus in their product. See if they ask for more.

But, conspiracy or whatever, the end result is that a lot of people didn't dip their feet in the water this summer. I grieved for them, left my sandals on, and went away to my lessons. The water was beautiful, of course.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Thursday July 26, 2001 Twasn't the 21st of July

I just had some very strange, mostly good, probably somewhat productive discussions.

Tomorrow I will go to Canada, to go to the Festival Memoire et Racines (no accent marks, please) in Joliette Quebec. It will be good. I will see Susie and Viveka and Peter and Laura and Marc and possibly Chris and maybe others and it will be fantabulous and then Susie and I will come back here.

So, don't despair--I'm still around, even if I'm not here writing journal entries.

Before I go, here's a classic from last year. I have omitted its author's name to protect her identity, but I thought you might enjoy it. This was transmitted to us while we were in a conference about a number of things including the 211 initiative. 211 is like 911, except that instead of getting emergency services, you'll get an information and referral hotline. It was approved on 21 July last summer. Enjoy, suffer, do as you will.

What a Day!!!
Twas the 21st of July
and all through the nation,
Was unvoiced concern
and worried anticipation

We at our computers,
and others at their stations
Sat watching the FCC
hoping for a 211 designation

Over two years in the making,
thru good times and bad
So many made contributions
and gave all they had

>From Atlanta to Conneticut
>From Texas to Seattle
Our unwavering belief in this project
no opponent could rattle

Breathlessly waiting
for the final event
Press releases were written
in preparation to be sent

Approval was given
We had much elation
In I&R's everywhere
was noisy jubilation

As we look to the future
with 211 given the nod
Heartfelt thanks to all
and to all a GOOD JOB!

For journalistic integrity, of course, all spelling and punctuation was preserved as originally transmitted. A fantastic work, don't you agree?

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Wednesday July 25, 2001 Tao Te Small World

Random correspondence today. Talked with two friends from Boston, both seemingly at random. Answered much email.

We made lots of Indian food for dinner tonight. It was most excellently fantabulous. My feet hurt.

I am random.

Finished reading the Tao Te Ching today. It's a new scholarly edition, reportedly a pretty good one, and as such has quotations from scholarly types on the back. I was amused to note that one of them was from Livia Kohn of Boston University--she's a Scottish dancer I met at Pinewoods. Small world.

Yeah. Just... Yeah. Oh, one last aside. To the one who'll know what I'm referring to, it's naïve of you to think that it's only one half of the population that's learned to deal with it.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Tuesday July 24, 2001 Linkfest

I played reasonably well at band practice tonight. We played strathspeys. For ever. Many strathspey.

I was given a throwing knife by a friend of mine. In Canada. I carefully hid it from the customs agent coming back across, and I cleverly hid it in the car rather than in the trunk. This is good, because they were randomly checking trunks on the way back, and checked mine as well. They were probably looking for illegal people. They found none.

And now, because I don't really have much to say, I will linkfest you. Earthquake Rose. No, Earthquake Rose is not a very very large person who figures prominently on Believe It Or Not. Earthquake Rose is a sand creation of an earthquake in Olympia, WA. It's pretty, sure, but honestly: they've got discussion groups at the official website so you can talk about what the earthquake rose means to you. Some People Say It's The Eye Of Poseidon!

From Nori, we have a link to Curious GWB, also known as Curious George Steals The Show. I can't decide whether to be horrified or amused. But then, that's sort of the way my feelings about the presidency of the United States have gone lately.

Not because I actually believe it, but because it's funny: proof positive that Girls Are Evil! A creative example of the misuse of mathematical principles. This is, however, one of those jokes that can be considered a strike back against all the ones we've heard about how All The Problems In A Woman's Life Have "Men" In Them, etc. Gawd. People are stupid sometimes.

Curious George wants you to have something. Unless you're me, or one of the n people like me. Well, anyway. This'll help you out if you're one of the x - (n + 1) people.

Tristan da Cunha, just because.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 does The Eye of Argon.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Monday July 23, 2001 Fife, but not East Neuk

Back over to Lyon Mountain today, to see Mila and kids as well as the other previously mentioned folks. It was nice. I played tunes for them, and they seemed to enjoy them. Came back home, did my hotline shift, etc.

Grandpa gave me his old fife, which I've determined is in Bb. I can't play it much, but I have yet to see whether this is because of me or because of the fife. Anyway.

I just deleted 249 email messages from my time away at Pinewoods. More will bite the dust tomorrow.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Sunday July 22, 2001 Aglio e olio

Went to Massena, spent Yet More Money today. It was good, though. I now have a pair of earplugs that won't break. Yes, it is possible to break earplugs; it's happened to me. These are soft silicone, and have a little cord to keep them around my neck if I take them out. Happy good.

I also (finally) have a DayRunner. This allows me to have addresses and not throw them away every year, and also will let me make appointments for the fall during the summer. Happy, good, and useful. It's very nice. I am pleased.

Dad got two rolls of film developed--one has pictures from Swarthmore, or rather Bryn Mawr, and the other has Pinewoods. It's happy and good to see people, or at least their images.

There's been a request for my detailed recipe for making penne con aglio e olio, or whatever the correct Italian is. Well, here goes:

Olive oil
5 cloves garlic
Penne rigate
Slice your garlic, chop it, do whatever you like. I like to slice it. Put a saucepan on the stove, and heat it up to frying temperature. On our stove, this is medium-high; your mileage may vary. Let the pan heat for a while, then pour in some olive oil. Not too much, just some. Don't quite cover the bottom of the pan, maybe. Let that heat itself for a while. Put in your garlic. Stir it as it cooks; let it brown but not burn. As it's cooking, stir in some salt (not much) and a little pepper. Add other flavorings if you want--oregano is nice, basil's probably good, you might try some peppers or something. Cook your penne, leaving it nicely al dente. Drain it, mix it with the sauce. Stir it around so you coat the pasta. Eat it.

And there's that. Off to Lyon Mountain again tomorrow to see more relatives, followed by a Reachout shift, followed by something else. Who knows?

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Saturday July 21, 2001 Brenga Astur

So I've gone to Lyon Mountain and visited Grandpa and Peggy, and have returned.

We heard Brenga Astur, a bagpipe etc. celtic rock group out of the Asturias region of Spain. Interesting; mostly not my type. They needed to turn their levels down--far too much sound reinforcement for the space. Still, it was fun. I covet their whistle player's low whistles.

Saw G&P, and Aunts Jo and Ellie as well. Nice to see them. Played an hour-long concert for them on the lawn today. Taught Peggy to make risotto by making one for lunch.

Dad and I watched Oxford Blues tonight. Makes me want to visit. Beautiful architecture and boats!

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Thursday July 19, 2001 Pinewoods part one

What follows is what came before.

Can I just say how much it freaks me out that I left for Pinewoods two weeks ago? It's sort of like the time just didn't happen. Scary. Good, but scary.

So, I'm starting the process of writing down some of the things that happened at Pinewoods. I tried to keep a daily journal while I was there--it eventually broke down. It came to the point where I had to make a choice: did I want to record my life, or did I want to live my life?

I hope you'll agree that I made the right choice. And so, the streak of however many hundred days without a break comes to an end. But I'll type this, adding a few things, and I'll keep listening to music from my new friend Hanneke, and I'll remember, and maybe some of the wonder that is Pinewoods will come through to you anyway.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Thursday July 19, 2001 part two Pinewoods part two

So that's what I wrote down about Pinewoods. As I said, I got tired of trying to find time to write my life down, so I stopped. I took a look at why I felt it was so important to write every day. Originally, it was because it was really important to have a daily ritual that was mine, that had meaning for me. That's still the point. It seemed important to keep the personal ritual going only so long as it was useful. So I stopped.

What else happened at Pinewoods? A whole lot. I made some great friends. I got to go for a ride in the EZ-Go, a souped-up golf cart. Brendan and I (Chief Security Officer Brendan, who's a small and cute dog, not Fiddle Champion Brendan, who's small and cute but not very dogly) played ball, and sometimes stick. Justin and I fed gypsy moths to the fish in Long Pond. I went swimming. People thanked me for throwing some energy into the group. I learned a little bit of highland dance (the Twasome or Scotch Measure), and found that, though she's nice, the teacher's style of instruction didn't work for my head. I taught Susie some chords. I played my strathspey, including once for a nice woman from Princeton. She said it was the sort of tune that fit her mood for packing to leave, and that for her, it was "Pinewoods Farewell". So, Maggie, if it helped, I'm glad.

I bought some stuff: Michael Brander's Scottish & Border Battles & Ballads, a nice book of Scottish history; a compilation CD "Bagpipes of Britain & Ireland" which largely sucks but was cheap; Kevin Crawford's CD In Good Company; Hanneke Cassel's CD My Joy, which I love; Susie's book of tunes, newly off the presses, whose cover and introduction I helped to write; a seventh-edition Pilling Scottish Country Dances in Diagrams; and a sort of pretty tartan sash with which to decorate my room at school.

I played a lot of music, with a lot of great people. Made some new friends, some good connections, and a few faux pas. Achieved two of the three Things You Must Do At Pinewoods: I danced so much that my legs died (albeit only for a little while) and I went skinny dipping in the pond. I did not have a fling, though one was offered to me. To the relevant people, thanks for everything. I had a really wonderful time, and I miss you already. Perhaps next year?

I said before I left that, one way or another, I was going to have paid some dues by the end of my time at Pinewoods. I was right. Wasn't always comfortable, wasn't always easy, but will always be remembered. Our time together was too short, but there will be others.

Thanks, everyone.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Wednesday July 18, 2001 Twelfth Night

Tonight I went with Shye to see Repercussion Theatre's production of Twelfth Night in Ives Park downtown. They're a traveling theatre company based in Montréal, QC--had nice conversations with some people in French. Talked with one woman about various things while Shye was picking up a T-shirt; attempted to converse with their techies about their lighting board, but their English was about as good as my French, and we didn't manage to interact meaningfully. Oh well :)

Good show, though--their lighting design was strong, if simple, and they used music to great effect. Lovely costuming, too. They had some really clever tricks, too, like a runner to help lead the actors backstage when they had to make front-of-house exits. Very good.

Saw lots of people. It was good good good.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Tuesday July 17, 2001 Piping

Yes, I will tell you stuff about Pinewoods eventually. I'm just too busy being tired. I'm getting a little antsy about it. But more sleep will help.

Piping lesson tonight, wherein I played more crossing noises than you can shake a birl at. Got a new chanter reed, though. Exciting.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Monday July 16, 2001 Tired

Made yummy sundried tomato risotto for lunch.

Am slightly less tired, but still exhausted. Had hotline shift. Wrote some short letters.

Hoping tiredness is due to sleep deprivation rather than Lyme disease or something. I think it is; will get extra sleep to make sure.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Sunday July 15, 2001 Sleepy

So I'm still here, and almost more tired than I was at the end of the school year. What the heck?

Be proud. Aiming for in bed before midnight.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Saturday July 14, 2001 Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day! I'm home from Pinewoods and exhausted.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Wednesday July 11, 2001 Pranked!

People fucking suck. Someone turned off my alarm clocks, so I overslept by 25 minutes. I don't think I could sleep through 4 alarms going off simultaneously, especially when a single one usually suffices.

As punishment, they put me in the stockade at lunchtime. Technically, the stocks, not the stockade. Embarrassing and unprofessional, but I went along with it to be a good sport. Felt okay. Then I started thinking. People told me they'd seen people doing something outside my cabin at 4:00 or 4:30 am, well after I'd fallen asleep. My plug-in alarm was moved; its cord, which I had carefully suspended from the curtain rod, had fallen, and the alarm was in a different place from the norm. People suck.

Should have reminded myself that these people aren't necessarily my friends.

Good session tonight. Brendan has, apparently, written a tune called "Piper in the stocks."

As it turns out, this whole thing was a lot less of a big deal than I thought it was. Camp gossip, at least the parts of it that I'd heard, ended up believing that someone pranked me. I had four alarm clocks, three battery-powered, one plug-in, and they were all set to go off at the same time. All four were turned on when I went to bed; all four were off when I got up. Even if I could turn off four alarms without waking up, my roommate would have been awakened, and he was not.

So, I was pranked. It was fun. I joked around while in the stocks--they were poorly constructed, so I couldn't get my feet into them. They did it at lunchtime, and the stocks were lightweight, so when the lunch bell went off, I calmly walked off to get in line, with the stocks around my head and hands. It was fun. People said I dealt with it well, and I think it sort of unified the camp--nothing had occurred to get people to laugh about something together. So, no harm done. My personal philosophy is evolving a lot more toward the side of "yep, this happened, it was bad, but it's done and we can't change that. How are you going to deal with life _right now_?" Wear a smile, be courteous and friendly, and they'll give you a lot of slack.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Tuesday July 10, 2001 Uechi ryu

Played well at dance.

Learning uechi ryu with Justin. Uechi ryu is an Okinawan style of karate, in which Justin (Giacoletti, a friend) holds a third degree black belt. He started teaching me some of it, so we could do a ceilidh act of showing what you can learn in three days. It had the side effect of getting me totally hooked. I've talked with the instructor at Swarthmore, and I'm going to try to take some of it in the fall. Might have to drop ballet, but whatever.

Skit. The skit that eventually fell through, "Bonnie Prince Charlie's Angels", written mostly by Bree. Huge cast of 10, for a ceilidh act. Was kind of funny, but took too long, so it didn't happen.

Don't like Levi Jackson's Rag. And don't like it when people pull me off the sidelines and force me to dance it. Oh well...

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Monday July 9, 2001 A session to remember

Great dance tonight. I played pipes for White Heather Jig, and people liked them. I always love watching the way a group of dancers reacts when you throw some extra energy their way, be it through your playing or your dancing, or simply by tossing bagpipes into the mix. Their heads come up, the grins come out, and they start to fly.

A long and wonderful session tonight with, at various times, me, Susie, Hanneke (Cassel), Dave Wiesler, David Knight, Barbara McOwen, Paul Henle, Sarah Pilzer, and someone I didn't know. The someone turned out to be Jerry Agin. Great session--started out with just me and Susie and Hanneke, and we gradually accumulated more musicians. The party was somewhere else, and was evidently one of the less energetic parties, because all the musicians were jamming in the camphouse. It was great--a session where I felt comfortable doing my improv thing, where I knew some tunes, where I learned some others. Good musicality. Sarah played French horn--bet you haven't heard too many Scottish sessions played on that instrument! Paul's great--a percussionist, lots of fun, and quiet. Plays Irish music on marimba, which sounds truly cool.

Bed ambush by Karen, Catherine, and Ellen. That's Karen Billmers, Catherine Scannell, and Ellen Scannell, who snuck into our room (me and Brendan Carey Block, my 16-year old Cape Breton fiddler from New Hampshire roommate) and jumped on us while we were napping in the late morning. Apparently the look of terror on my face as I was ripped to consciousness was quite priceless. I was good, though--I didn't do anything drastic. Just sort of smiled and sat up and talked.

The woman telling me to stop playing. She mystified me. I was playing in the morning per normal, and this woman stopped me while I was out there, and told me "You can stop playing now. Everyone's awake--fifteen minutes is more than enough" in a very displeased voice. I was sort of mystified, so I said "thank you", stopped playing, and asked Mary Ellen about it later. Mary Ellen, incidentally, is fabulous. She's lots of fun, and I'm glad I got to meet her in person because she's wonderful. So, basically, we don't know what the story is with this woman. Oh well!

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Sunday July 8, 2001 A few goodbyes

People leaving. Sad. Went swimming in the pond post-dance.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Saturday July 7, 2001 Ralph and Wally

Ralph and the Wally piping incident.I started getting more terse in my writing, if you hadn't noticed... Takes less time that way. Anyway, what happened was this: Ralph, on Friday night, invited me to come play in D.C., where he lives, for some social dances this coming year. I accepted. Now, Ralph had only heard me play solo at Hogmanay, and didn't really remember other than that it sounded okay. I accepted, anyway, and that was that. Next morning, I'm about to go wake the camp up with bagpipes at 7. So I tuned up, and started doing my rounds. When I was on the other side of camp I thought I heard some other bagpipes, but couldn't be sure. I was distracted by my own bagpipes, which were being evil to me and doing all sorts of things--cutting out because of the low temperature, throwing a glob of seasoning onto my reed (!). That really sucked, a lot. Try cleaning congealed lanolin out of your bagpipes at 7 in the morning when you haven't yet had any Earl Grey, _while_ trying to do it as quickly as possible so people won't notice you've stopped playing... nervewracking.

Anyway, here's Ralph's perspective. Apparently, the standard for the mornings is that you wake up when the piper goes by your cabin, you sort of doze off, and then you wake up for real when he stops playing. Ralph lived right next door to me, incidentally. So he woke up, dozed off, and was awakened by this ungodly cacophony right next door. His first thought was apparently "shit, I don't believe I asked him to come play for me." So he starts shouting, hurling imprecations at me, and throwing clothes on so he can come make me stop playing. Jenn, his wife, finally woke up enough to notice something. "Ralph... RALPH! It's _Wally_!". Apparently there's another piper in camp, also living nearby, who felt that he needed to play what Jenn eventually identified as "The Skye Boat Song". So Ralph went and pounded on his door to get him to stop. Various things were said--Jenn's comment was "Wally! Either kill the cat or let it live, but stop torturing the poor creature!". Ralph later apologized to me for the aspersions he had cast on my name. So that was all right. Actually it was pretty darn funny.

Ceilidh--Susie and I played our air (Slow air that Bob Worrall learned from Fred Morrison's mom) and Roaring Barmaid. People seemed to like it.

Longest grand march in history. Not. But it sucks. Feels long when you're doing it. You march them, while playing, from the camphouse to C#, keep playing while they all change from street shoes into ghillies, and keep playing while they do a full grand march after that. Ugh. Another big shout out to the band, who helped out by playing a march to give me a chance to breathe.

Vicars and Tarts party. Hoo boy. My introduction to the mad party scene at Pinewoods. This one was interesting. I didn't have the appropriate costume for it. Oh well. Fun, though. Suzanne brought her pretty wood flute, about which we had talked, and she let me play it. I fell in love. I am _so_ going to get one of these.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Friday July 6, 2001 Boston fiddle session

Opening dance. Met Ralph (Stoddard) and Jenn (Sawin).

Discovered that I don't really enjoy the Boston fiddle session style. They play tunes fast, play them twice through, and then head to a new tune. Lots of whistle-unfriendly keys, etc. There are tunes that are sort of built for a given instrument--whistle tunes, fiddle tunes. Lots of fiddle tunes here. All of these things would have been fine--one of the things I enjoy doing the most when I'm playing with Susie is making up little side melodies and things to go along with the tune. There didn't seem to be room for that in this group, which frustrated me, because they weren't playing tunes I knew. I finally gave up and relinquished my place in the circle. It was informative to learn later that some fiddlers whose playing I really admire felt almost exactly the same way because of that session. Oh well... Live and learn.

Sat on the dock and looked at stars while talking for a long time.

Met everyone. Got introduced at evening dance. There's something that just felt magical about that. Being called out by name at Pinewoods and asked to stand with the staff--magic.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Thursday July 5, 2001 First night at Pinewoods

Written from Pinewoods, yes Pinewoods, olé!

Written, technically, the morning after, because I went to bed last night far too late to write anything without waking my erstwhile roommate Daniel. [1]

So, I'm here. Freeloading, mostly, though I'm trying to make myself useful--work starts tomorrow or Friday, at least for me. Long drive down here, which Dad drove. It rained on us. Weather here has--knock on wood--been beautiful so far. Heh. Boy, was I naive. The weather's about as constant as, oh, a random number generator. No, that's not fair. It always did the same things: nice morning, raining afternoon... Except sometimes it rained at night or in the morning. Fun, though.

Got out my pipes this evening and discovered that the air in Pinewoods is enough different from that at home that my meticulously adjusted pressure settings have gone entirely awry. I'll fix them tomorrow. This, too, was to be a fixture of the week--resetting all of my reeds two or three times a day to cope with the changing temperature and humidity. Fun!

I spent much of the evening hanging out with Catherine Scannell, 17, and Suzanne Friedman, 19. Catherine is Mary Ellen's daughter and is currently camp staff; Suzanne is a prospective music major at Oberlin, and is summer camp staff. We hung out, talked, walked around in the dark, and were silly.

I like Pinewoods. Susie and I played a lot. Mostly at the party after that evening's dance. It was the final night of English-Scottish Session, and they were all off in the C# Dance Pavilion (hereafter C#) dancing, so Susie and I met at the camphouse (nice building with piano and stuff) to play for a while. We kept playing as the dance finished and people started drifting in for the after-party. Played lots of tunes. People saw us, and they smiled, and they asked us questions later. We were pleased because we felt that we'd contributed something to their good time. Facilitating their good time is a phrase I got from Susie, and it's a good one.

1: That's Daniel Friedman, brother of Suzanne, and another PCI crew member. I stayed in his cabin (Corn Rigs) the first night. Plays a mean fiddle, he does. Friendly, as most people were.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table

Ack! This one seems to have gotten lost somewhere!

Tuesday July 3, 2001 Moving John

Today I helped John move, again. Much slogging of dressers. Heavy wooden dressers. But he's all moved in now.

Then there was piping. I sucked hard. It has just occurred to me that this may be due to being tired from moving John. Anyway. It bit. So did the mosquitoes, which gave me the lovely systemic allergy response. We had a birthday party for Amanda (today) and Brian (tomorrow).

I made dinner when I got back, a rice/TVP combination. Yummy.

I'm laconic because I'm exhausted.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Monday July 2, 2001 My amazing pants

Today I went to the post office four times. That's right. Four times. To buy stamps, and get mail, and send mail, and fix the problem with having bought stamps. Not in that order.

Now, I like the post office well enough. But there comes a point where enough is enough. And that point comes when you have to go back to the post office to retrieve more stamps when they've given you the wrong kind and you were too stupid to notice at the time.

You'll note that the most intolerable things are often noticed when we're trying to save face for having been momentarily stupid.

Today, I finished (with a lot of help from my mother; thanks mom!) the red edition of the Wild Pants for Pinewoods. These are for the after-dance gatherings and will convince mosquitoes to stay away from me, I'm sure of it. They're made of wonderful, gaudy cotton from Bizarre Fabrics (ahem, Fabrics Bazaar) in Massena. Lightweight is the order of the day. The best part about the photographs is that the funky lens ring effects and all that are entirely real--the camera did them. No Photoshop filters here! Click on the pictures to see them in all their tasteful, full size glory.

I started working with the new "stationery" today, and it's niiiiiiiiice. Feels ever so much better to write on than my previous writing medium of choice, pages ripped from my little sketchbooks. Pens just sort of glide over the surface of this one, and I really like the appearance of green ink on it. Works very nicely. If you're especially kind, I may (eventually) post a sample so you can see how pretty it is for cheapass stationery.

So, another day goes by. Turns out that RSCDS Boston plans to pay for my travel expenses, which is massively cool, and that Maggie Carchrie doesn't need me to play for her Highland dance class, which means I can take the class, which is also massively cool. My ghillie brushes came in the mail today (finally), so I have freshly brushed and oiled ghillies, which should be happy come dancing time.

I'm up early tomorrow morning to help John Kaplan move again. Let's hope it's slightly shorter this time, and that this is the last time the poor man has to pick up house. Erg!

Piping practice tomorrow, where I will (if I'm lucky) get Brian to help me retie the stocks on my blowstick and chanter so that they'll fit me better. Would be nice to have them fit my body. The reels are uncomfortable, but the jigs are a little better.

Incidentally, there are large inline graphics with this one because people told me they preferred the graphics rather than the links. I'm breaking my own rules for you people! Enjoy. If it sucks, tell me.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table
Sunday July 1, 2001 Tamias striatus

And another month falls by the wayside. Where'd it go? Ack! Ack ack ack!

It was cold on me when I was practicing tonight. Fingers were very cold indeed. Weather forecast has temperatures of 37 Fahrenheit for tonight. Nice! It was bizarre all day... Raining, not raining, raining, thunder and lightning-ing, raining, sunshine, sunset, rain, and throughout most of it very windy.

Grandpa and Peggy came over for lunch. Dad made chicken parslied en croute, a classic; I improvised a risotto which came out nicely. Had corn in it. Yum! Mom did salad, Dad did chocolate mousse, Scampi made sure that we were all behaving ourselves...

A chipmunk (well, a picture of one) now graces my desktop as the wallpaper photograph. Tamias striatus, the eastern chipmunk, masses approximately 120 to 125 grams. The animals outside were frisky today. Various squirrels spent the day flinging themselves at the bird feeders, with varying degrees of success. Grey squirrels can get onto it, at which point they get distracted by their gorging and fail to see me coming with much water to throw at them; red squirrels scrabble around the grill trying to get a good angle on the feeder, and fling themselves at the feeder like the greys (I think they were watching each other) but miss and go skimming through the air looking like disappointed miniature Space Shuttles. Persistent, though--one red kept jumping for 10 minutes, until I got bored by watching it. The chipmunks stay on the ground, eating seeds.

I have a profound and relevant thought, but I'm not going to ruin it for you by explaining it here.

Please size your window so this bar is the same width as the white table