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Dear and faithful reader,

About fourteen years ago, my friend [ profile] chordam7 and I wrote the libretto to a Jazz-age ragtime Cthulhian opera.

Well, mostly I wrote the libretto and mostly he worked on the music. But only mostly. It was a collaboration.

It was, sadly, a collaboration that we never really finished. The libretto is complete. The introductory material is sort of half-done, the musical themes and tunes are about two-thirds done, and the orchestration... well, the less said about the orchestration, the better.

We had talked over the years about kickstarting the orchestration, with a CD as the end result, but we agreed that more of the music needed to be finished first.

And then, as with so many things, life got in the way.

We had lunch today and decided that we needed to publish the libretto, with perhaps some of the existing music and orchestration as illustrative or supplemental material. It's just dumb that we're sitting on this.

So, there we are.
I've been fighting off the onset of a migraine for a couple of days now.

It feels like a tightness in the back of my head, where the skull meets the spine, and it waxes and wanes in size and strength. Usually, if I pay attention and notice these symptoms, I can fend it off with my handy green bottle of Excedrin Migraine® before it engulfs my entire head.

If I fail to do this in time, there's no turning back. At that point, I'm done.

The weird bit the past couple of days has been that, while I have not had a migraine, neither have I managed to shake the pre-migraine symptoms.

This had done some rather peculiar things to my brain chemistry, I fear. My dreams have been both vivid and macabre. I wore a bow-tie to church on Sunday (yes, because "bow-ties are cool"). Yesterday, I wrote pages and pages of very odd connections and trains of thought.

It's back today. Ho hum. Time to hit the Excedrin again.

During a full migraine, I once wrote a Shakespearean sonnet off the top of my head with no edits - it tumbled out of my head just as fast as I could write. Reading it later, I thought it one of my better poetic efforts.

While this level of ability often eludes me on a normal day, I really don't think it's worth the pain. Perhaps I'm just not committed enough to my art. Or perhaps I'm entirely too sane.

Anyway, bow-ties are cool.

Edited to add: It's screwing with my vision, too.
Yesterday I appeared for jury duty for the first time.

The County-City Building is only four or five blocks from Pistachio House, so I walked. Apparently they're going to pay me mileage at 50¢ a mile. I'm sure that will cover wear and tear on my shoes.

With bus fare at $2.00, I'm thinking of forgoing the mileage in favour of the transit ticket option.

For those of you who have not gone through this procedure, after the initial briefing it's mostly a waiting game.

There were about 200 of us in the Jury assembly room, and occasionally a jovial fellow wearing a Goofy® tie would come to the podium and read off a list of between fifteen and sixty names. That group would be given numbered badges and marched off to a court room for Voir dire.

Within half an hour or so, many if not most of the badged jurors, having been struck from the Jury for one reason or another, would return to the Jury assembly room.

At about 11:00, the Man With the Goofy® Tie called my name, and I became (according to my new badge) Juror Number 1. Our group was not marched off for Voir dire, however, as the judge and the attorneys in the case were apparently still working out the details of our appearance. Or something.

At noon, our group was told to go home for lunch and to come back at 9:00 AM.

If I actually become a Juror on a case, I can't of course discuss the actual case until the trial is over and we've rendered a verdict.

I find it extremely unlikely that I'll actually sit on a jury, however. I mean, if I were on trial, I wouldn't want me sitting in judgment of me...
A fantastical weekend.

To LLL's for an afternoon BBQ Saturday.

Yesterday, it hit 91° in Tacoma, so Francine and I scrambled around looking of ways to keep cool.

Now I lived in Tucson for six years, and it frequently topped 100° in March. This didn't seem quite so bad since most every building has air-conditioning. Here, not so much.

At some point after church, Sunday became Geekday.

So we met up with [ profile] singingbarista and her fiancé J and saw "The Expendables".

Here was Stallone's pitch for making this movie: "Remember the 80's? Let's do an action movie like we did back in the day. We'll totally take it over the top and add exploding heads, whaddaya say?"

It was gloriously terrible. I laughed. A lot.

Then we checked out the new location of our local comic book store. The new location seems much larger than the old - you could roller skate in there with no trouble. And it's air-conditioned.

Then off to our friendly local game store where I confess I bought issue 150 of KODT, which includes "Dawg: the RPG".

Today it looks to hit 90° again, so I'll be heading for the local Tulley's to write and look for work.

Well, this is my first attempt to post using my "new" iPhone. It was a "lovely parting gift" from my ex executive producer, Larayne.

Larayne, please forget every argument we ever had, this thing is fantastic!

She purchased the new iPhone 4, so I inherited this one. It took me about three hours last night to figure out how to unlock it and get it to play nice with my T-Mobile account, but it was relatively easy once I worked it out.

I don't have a data plan (and won't until I'm employed), but it has wireless and I'm in Puget Sound - the land of open networks - so I should be fine.

I have already downloaded several apps (including lj of course) and fear I may never return to a simple telephone again. Unless of course someone makes a proper pocket watch model I can attach to a fob...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

ETA: I should probably mention that the title of the post refers to today's feast, about which the lovely [ profile] jaynefury had an interesting dream this morning.
Today is Francine's birthday, huzzah!

Let us walk down to the sea,
Just we two together
Past those white-washed houses
That stood too long and are
No longer homes,
Past the hungry shadows who
Would not learn to walk with us
Down to the sea.

Let us walk from our city
Apartments, you and I,
Through rolling vineyards (sweet
Grapes hung heavy in the sun)
And olive groves,
With our straw hats and baskets,
And gather for the pressing
All that we can.

Let others dream their
Lives in parking lots;
Seek with me the sea.

In other news, my phone has stopped working.

Oh, it turns on, it registers signal, it even lets you dial. The whole "talking to people on the phone" thing, however, has utterly failed.

The best part is, I don't actually remember the last time I received a call, and I haven't tried to call anybody in days, so I've no idea how long it's been this way.

The thing is, when hunting for jobs it's usually fairly vital to have a working telephone.


28 Jun 2010 15:03
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (rude penguin)
My entire division was just laid off, effective 30 June.

No severance pay, 48 hours notice.

Anybody looking for a writer?
No game today, and yet I am just plain exhausted. I thought weekends were supposed to be relaxing?

I did manage a quick jaunt to Culpepper Books, where I purchased a lovely copy of the Divine Comedy with the Doré illustrations. That was between gardening and spring cleaning.

It has become apparent to me that we live in a big rambling farm house. Not much of a farm, mind, but we visited some chickens recently purchased by our neighbour Lisa, and I think they're doable.

Of course, building a coop is about ninth on my list of major home projects, so I'm thinking maybe 2012.


8 Dec 2009 08:41
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Contemplation)
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

It was 9° when I left for work this morning. That's 9°F, not 9°C.

The cold this year has been affecting me more than in years passed. Normally I'm a furnace, but I don't think I've actually felt warm since Saturday at this point (scalding showers notwithstanding).

I'm cold at home; I'm cold at the office; I'm always cold.

The constant cold distracts me from working, and believe me, I don't need that much of a push.

For someone who grew up in the American midwest, sensitivity to cold is a rather terrifying thing. I remember quite distinctly walking miles over drifted snow in the city after a blizzard with no hat or gloves. How have I gotten so soft?
Commemoration of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
On a Sound Transit train, somewhere near Kent

Sound Transit is not having a good week.

Yesterday, my 6:50AM train was canceled due to some sort of mechanical issue apparently involving hydraulics. Fortunately, the 7:20 gets me into work only a few minutes late.

Then, my 5:40PM train arrived at King Street Station almost twenty minutes late, again due to unspecified "mechanical problems at the Tukwila Station".

Once finally in Tacoma, it transpired that the automatic track switches used by the Tacoma Link light rail were not working, forcing the engineer to twice stop the train. She physically left the train, carrying an enormous slab of metal I assume was a lever, and threw the switches manually.

The lever put me in mind of the Big Wrench™ found on the engineering deck of every proper Traveller starship.

When finally I arrived back at Pistachio House, having walked up The Hill, I heard on the news that the Seattle Link light rail had suffered an actual derailment earlier in the day.

And that was just yesterday.

This morning, my 6:50AM train was again canceled. This time they didn't bother even giving us an explanation.

On the other hand, the weather has been gloriously stormy. Once the wind gusts get up to 50 miles per hour, one hardly feels the rain.
Commemoration of Saint Placid

Off to Vancouver BC until Friday. Sadly, it's for work and not pleasure so much.

Feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop & Doctor of the Church
Sounder Train, somewhere near Auburn, Washington

Dear friends,

Thank you for your support. I have been truly overwhelmed by the kindness and love shown to me and to my family in the past days.

Your thoughts and your prayers have been a source of solace and comfort in this impossible time.

I would like to especially thank those of you who made it to Tristan's sentencing yesterday. For those of you unable to attend, the normally negligent News Tribune did a good job at sensitively painting the scene.

The News Tribune Story )

What the article does not say is that, while the sentence was "at the high end of the standard range" it was, in fact, the high end of a lesser charge to which Tristan ended up pleading guilty, contrary to previous reports.

In closing, dear, dear, friends would like to share with you a passage from today's Office of Readings from a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus that struck me this morning:

Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonour when you are honoured by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom....

The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvellous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in his image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth....
The entire sermon is worth reading, but this was the part that particularly struck me today.

It is a glorious world out there, created for our delight. While we some days do our level best to ruin it, to make the world a place of terror and filth and hatred, it is in the end a beautiful, wonderful world, and we should make the time to notice it every day.

So go out there and spread some joy.
Commemoration of the seven Holy Sleepers of Ephesus

Dearest Reader,

Saturday was spent at Tacoma's Ethnic Fest, an excuse for sampling foods from restaurants previously unknown and browsing through merchant kiosks of cultures entirely unfamiliar.

The weather has been beastly hot, though the nights have been cooling off. This is, no doubt, due to the angel of hot night time weather deciding he couldn't stand up to [ profile] singingbarista's suggestions for defeating him; so he just threw in the towel.

Sunday was a surprise party for our pastor, Fr. Carmine Sacco, SJ. He was celebrating his 65th anniversary of becoming a Jesuit. No, that number is not a typo. He's baptising the grandchildren of people he baptised...

Sunday evening was a rousing splatter of Call of Cthulhu, just so Tristan would have one last game before his sentencing on Wednesday. Thanks to [ profile] chordam7 for running the game and to Robin and Corey for hosting. And! most especially to [ profile] sulky_girl and Robin for transportation to and from Olympia.

I took this morning off work for a last meeting with Tristan's attorney, followed by some time with Tristan to work on his statement to the court, should that be warranted. The words are his, though I did help by asking him questions and getting his thoughts put in order. Although what we wrote was very short, he could not read it aloud without tears.

Whether or not he actually reads it in court is up to his attorney.

I also wrote a statement for the court, which will be entered into the record during sentencing. I made Tristan's attorney cry.

Statement of Thom Ryng in support of Tristan Ryng, his son )

I had planned to go into work after the meeting, but after speaking with Tristan's attorney I decided to call in. After sitting down with Tristan, I'm a bit shattered, so this was clearly a good decision.

Blathering just a bit now, dear reader, but I hope that you will forgive me. I'm good for very little else today.

Tristan's sentencing is on Wednesday at 3:00 PM at the Pierce County courthouse in Tacoma. It will be a melancholy affair, but please, if you wish to come out and support Tristan, please come down.
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Pistachio House, Tacoma

Gentle Reader,

Francine being ill and confined to the couch, last night's festivities were muted. There was champagne and cheesecake and midnight kisses, but the majority of the evening's revels consisted of rambling about Pistachio House and vaguely listening to the television.

We are clearly the exciting, dangerous people your parents warned you about.

Speaking of parents, mine visited last week, the first time they'd spent Christmas with us. They flew in from Chicago on the 24th, and their flight was only delayed three hours. It was great that they were here, and it was wonderful that they were able to visit Tristan in the hospital.

Tristan is gaunt, but mostly in good spirits. As the nerves in his reconstructed right ankle knit together, he has experienced some excruciating shooting pains. It's difficult to be there for that, but I rather imagine he's having a rougher time of it than we are.

a photo )

The snow of the last few weeks made it rough to get around - the local municipal authority snow contingency plan seems to consist largely of hoping it melts quickly. After two weeks, warmer weather has now come, and Tacoma (at least) is back to cool weather and rain, our winter norm.

The rain forced us to beg a ride to Mass this morning, but it's now given way to blustery winds and cold. I believe I shall stay in the rest of the day, drink coffee, and perhaps write.

Again, clearly exciting and dangerous. Beware!

I wish you, dear reader, the very best of the new year, and may the blessings of God come upon you and your house.


19 Nov 2007 11:28
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (CS Lewis)
I've been trying to write this post for two days.

On Saturday, we went to the Sinfonietta through the magic of free tickets.

Francine and I were enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, and the day sort of got away from us. We completely lost track of the time until Mel called us to ask where we were.

It was 7:00, time to pick up the tickets, and were were still lounging around! Fortunately, we only live up the hill from the Rialto, so we were able to get there in short order.

We parked in the lot down the block and across the street. I sent Francine on ahead to meet up with Mel and James and the tickets while I mucked with the new auto-pay machine.

Back in the day, you entered the number of the space you were parked in and threw in some bills and you were good to go. The new system involves a printed ticket to put on the dashboard. I took the ticket and hesitated - they were waiting for me and I was running late. What were the odds that the car would get cited?

Was the chance worth the thirty seconds I'd lose? I decided not. I ran to the car, slapped the ticket on the dash, and ran back to the intersection to cross Ninth and Market Streets. There were knots of pedestrians crossing Market on both sides of Ninth, heading for the Rialto. There were even four of Tacoma's bicycle cops standing around, vaguely looking like they were supposed to be crossing guards.

As I started to cross Market, I saw a white pickup truck racing up Ninth, towards me. Without signaling or slowing, it turned left onto Market, across Ninth from me.

Pedestrians scattered and flew through the air like pins in a bowling lane. At least one of them thumped onto the hood of the pickup as it sped through.

The cops ran forward like they'd rehearsed it: three to injured pedestrians, one to the middle of the street to peer after the pickup. I assume he was getting the license number.

People were screaming.

I ran to the nearest group. A cop was already there, administering first aid.

The man had a neatly trimmed grey beard and short, white hair. He was twisted under and over a young blonde woman. His head was surrounded by a growing puddle of blood, a shocking scarlet against the grey asphalt and his brown topcoat. His hat - a brown Pendleton with what looked like a pheasant feather, was crushed nearby.

He was still wearing his glasses.

He lifted his head, and he kept asking, "Where's my wife? Is my wife all right?" The officer asked him questions as he applied pressure to the injury, but he ignored them. "Is my wife all right?"

The younger woman tangled around him told the officer she was fine, and she tried to talk to the older man. He ignored her. Clearly not the wife.

I looked about twenty feet up the street, where an older woman lay, unmoving, with an officer kneeling beside her.

A hysterical woman, screaming, across the street was being comforted by another, younger woman.

Somebody had already called 911. One of the officers was also on his radio.

Standing there in the middle of Market Street, I felt utterly helpless, unable to help.

Perhaps one of the Sinfonietta patrons was a doctor? I ran for the Rialto.

Somebody beat me to it. An EMT and a nurse were identifying themselves in the ticket line to another bystander. They were on their way before I had even caught my breath.

So I went to the Sinfonietta and told Francine and Mel and James about the incident.

And right then I realized for the first time that had I not run back to put the ticket on the dashboard, I would have been in that intersection when the pickup truck had run through it.

Something inside me shifted at that moment, and I've not quite come to grips with it. It's not survivor's guilt - nobody died and I certainly don't feel guilty.

But every time I look at someone, there's this profound feeling of "you could die in an instant - hell, you're probably already dead - and everything you are and were will be gone". I'm sure there's a single word for that in some language. Probably German.

It's hard to take anyone so terribly seriously, and yet there's also this awesome sense of individual importance in the sense that this person is a unique and fragile treasure in the world. And in these islands of individuality, I feel utterly unconnected and adrift.

Does that make any sense?

I passed the site today. It was raining hard, and the black stains on the street were melting at the edges and joining the muddy rivulets running down the hill to the sea.

The local paper's version

I've been trying to write this post for two days. I'm not convinced I've succeeded.
I have been unemployed now since All Saints Day, November 1. My state unemployment claim has been denied, so as of this moment I have officially zero income.

OK, that's not quite true. I've been doing some odd publishing and layout contracts, but this is not going to pay the mortgage. Or the wedding.

So I've been going to Tulley's every morning, just to keep a steady routine. They've got a conference room with a great view of the Tacoma streets that I'm using as my own private looking for work office.

I've also been doing a lot of work on Cruenti Dei. I seriously underestimated the amount of work these maps would be. I've got two more difficult ones to do, and then a handful of easy ones, similar to the sample posted.

Come hell or high water, the rule book is going to the printers on Saturday.

For your pleasure, some links to make your day shine.

Lovecraft computer games

Adopt a penguin

Steampunk Dalek

The Castaigne Collection

... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.
Although they were removed from the calendar, they remain saints. I intend to celebrate in the traditional manner - by purchasing a new pair of shoes.

If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.Read more... )
(Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound)

Two people have now asked me about the use of Latin on my journal.

Since that's a sizable percentage of the readership (possibly half), I thought I'd better address it. Here several reasons. Take your pick.

  • I'm a mediævalist. I like old things.
  • I'm a Roman Catholic. It's our language, even if we don't use it much.
  • I love the sound and elegance of the language.
  • Did I mention I like old things?
  • I am, in fact, a pretentious git.

Is there anything finer on a blustery day than a cup of tea and a good book?

It has been a trying week. On Thursday, I gave a presentation to the Pierce Deanery Principals for which I had been preparing nearly a month. It was just a bit stressful, as Principals are taught in Principal school the fine art of the stony, blank expression.

Only one of them actually engaged, and I later discovered that he wasn't a Principal at all. He was, in fact, assistant superintendent of Catholic schools for the archdiocese. I can't venture an opinion on the Principals, but this fellow was convinced.

To relieve a bit of pent-up stress, I took Friday off and worked on Cruenti Dei. This is not nearly so decadent as it sounds, as I'm only actually paid for 30 hours a week, and I'd passed that mark on Wednesday evening.

The (final) rules draft for Cruenti Dei is done. Now I'm waiting for some illustrations and working on the maps. Stat sheets are next. I'm most emphatically not looking forward to doing those. I'm also studying up on the Little Ice Age. Tremble!

After receiving several earnest inquiries from people (chiefly my relatives) about wedding registries and such, I've added a Paypal button on the right hand side of this journal. There's really nothing we need, of course, but this gives those who wish to give us a gift an opportunity to do so.

(Parenthetically, it also makes it slightly more unlikely that we'll end up with nine mis-matched candlesticks.)

Wedding planning and preparation continues apace. Many details were sorted out last Saturday, and I'm extremely grateful to those who attended. I actually feel like this is going to come off, now. Invites are at the printer, and the various committees have set down to their work. My list, finally, looks manageable.

Yesterday I attended an LMI class at the chancery in Seattle. More on this program and my ongoing formation soon. But not today. The classes are, by and large, utterly fascinating. Reminds me, I need to get some homework done.

In the evening, Francine and I had dinner with Fr. Bryan at Paddy Coyne's downtown. It's the closest thing Tacoma has to a proper pub, since E-9 lost its soul.

I can't go to Paddy Coynes without being reminded of Droyne, for reasons obvious perhaps to several old Traveller hands here.

Somehow, I missed reading Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" until just yesterday. Ah, what a fool I've been.

Quote of the day: "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering." (Doctor Who - who can tell me the episode?)
First, your meme of the day, courtesy of [ profile] literary_equine :

How smart are you? - Intelligence Test

That's 24 out of 25 correct. I wonder which question I got wrong?

We'll move on now to the geeky Church news portion of today's entertainment. Never mind Catholic / Orthodox rapprochement (a thousand years of schism can't be wrong!), it seems the Russians are upset with Constantinople (that's Istanbul, for you young Turks out there). I blame Estonia. If they'd only converted to Unitarianism, none of this would have happened.

And as I've long suspected, the Pope really is crazy like a fox. I won't bore you with his other chess moves (they're mostly liturgical), but for those who thought this would be a transitional Papacy, Benedict is increasingly making Pope John Paul II look like he was the transition.

And when did BBC stop capitalizing God?

On a more personal note, my schedule has really screwed up my praying of the Hours. I'm trying to fix that, but it's been a struggle.

Meanwhile, wedding plans are the chaos that wedding plans apparently always are. Still, we've finally got another planning session put together, so that's a good thing.

My plans for continued employment with Catholic schools in Tacoma is collapsing like a startled soufflé.

Plan A is proving a difficult sell - a month I've been on-and-off working on a presentation to the Principals and Pastors, and it only started coming together yesterday in any meaningful way. Trouble is, the plan only makes financial sense if you assume that the goal is to (eventually) open several more schools. It's rather difficult to get these folks to that view, when their paradigm is built on "can we afford to stay open for another year?"

The demographics support twelve or more schools where we currently have seven, but I don't think I can get them to look that far ahead.

Plan B is increasingly looking unlikely. The Archdiocese just hasn't budgeted for the position I'd fill.

Plan C involves sending out résumés. This, I started yesterday. Looks like Frank Russell is looking for a FrameMaker guru. Why not?

Oh, and my laptop finally died. There went my savings account.

Cruenti Dei continues to stumble on towards the starting line. I'm very pleased with [ profile] amphigori's illustrations. I still haven't seen anything from [ profile] badhairs , which doesn't surprise me given his life situation, nor from [ profile] starkad67 , which is quite worrying.

I'm still trying to get up to speed on Campaign Cartographer 2 - I'm was hoping to have these maps done pretty quickly, but it's proving more difficult than I thought. I may have to go with hand-drawn maps. Not my first choice, but I'm trying to work to deadline, here.

I did get the Preview PDF put together, complete with a couple of illustrations and a silly little sketch map. [ profile] amphigori's Wenemet sketch makes the whole thing worth downloading, though for the final masterpiece, you'll have to purchase the rulebook when it's available.

Speaking of which, the rulebook is pretty much done, except for the tables and the illustration inserts. So that's something.

Did I mention I've been really busy?

I've also not been sleeping very well for the last few weeks, something that I seem to share with a number of people on my friendslist. I suspect that R'lyeh may be poking its wee head above the waves. I've also been having quite the surreal nightmares. Interestingly, I've not been to Carcosa in a while.

Cross-posted from all and sundry.

Read more... )

In other news, my iBook appears to be slowly dying. The monitor is starting to flicker, and the 3, e, and d keys aren't working. This is not quite as horrible as it sounds, as I have a plug-in keyboard, but it is kind of annoying when I'm on the go.

Comes from dropping it one too many times, I suspect. Laptops should come covered in shock-resistant foam.

So at some point, I'm going to have to hoof it down to the Apple store for the 500,000-keystroke tune-up.

Wedding paperwork continues to roll-in. Fun!

Oh, and thanks to the Archdiocese's arcane contracting system and multiply dysfunctional layers of bureaucracy, I still haven't been paid for August. On the other hand, the folks for whom I'm actually working are doing their darndest to get me paid. On the third hand, the might of mere mortals is insufficient to overcome bean-counter juju.

The fourth hand, as we know, is the dummy.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)
This is my first weekend since July 21, and I think I might actually be starting to relax.

I just posted the latest progress report to the Cruenti Dei forum. Work is humming along!

Today's plan is more work on CD, a nice long walk, some quick edits on a book project, cleaning up the kitchen, perhaps some weed-whacking in the front.

I think Francine might go grocery shopping.

Ah, the bucolic life!

Tomorrow, we've got to tackle some wedding projects. And laundry.

I'd like to share something I read recently:

In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him even a name: he is merely "First Servant." All the characters around him -- Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund -- have fine long-term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand it. His sword is out and pointed at his master's breast in a moment: then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But if it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted. (C.S. Lewis, "The World's Last Night")

I've been ruminating over this for a couple of days now, and the idea appeals to me as a framing device for a story of this servant's life. Of course, if you buy the argument that Shakespeare was an underground Catholic, the life and death of the "First Servant" takes on a whole other light.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)

Ooh Hot

11 Jul 2007 15:22
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Tentacles!)
If I liked this kind of heat, I never would have left Tucson.

Couldn't sleep much last night.

Stayed home today to job hunt and putter about the house.

Today is the Feast of Saint Benedict.

The heat has, I'm convinced, sapped so much out of me that I'm starting to lose hours.

Did I do anything worthwhile today?

Is melting worthwhile?

Fans just stir the heat.

(... and therefore I believe the President and Vice President of the United States must be impeached.)


12 Jun 2007 17:26
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Stupor Mundi)
The madness that is the second-to-last week of school, with its graduations and field day gyrations, has given way to the collapsing soufflé that is the last week of school.

I'm feeling much better about life in general, and the stress level has noticeably dropped. It hasn't quite dropped to the Summer Holiday level, but it's hovering right near the Now, What I Was Supposed to be Doing? level.

Some time in the next month, I rather suspect it will be at the Sangrias on the Patio level, a state of affairs to which I look forward with no little anticipation.

The weekend was gardening in the rain, followed by gardening in the sunshine. The fig has been joined by an olive. In between, there were Irish (sic) pubs and gawdawful fish and chips at a place that should probably stick with pizza.

I don't think I mentioned it earlier, but I built fully half of Piazza della Pistachio on Memorial Day, just so we would have some place to put the grill.

Today is my last day of staying late at work.
Spent the last week up in Forks crashing at Chez [ profile] gaelfarce, completely incommunicado.

So the thing about Forks is that it's tiny, their only decent breakfast place has a giant elk head laying about, and the whole place has a sort of Twin Peaks vibe.

Seriously. [ profile] gaelfarce lives on Lupine Ave., just down the block from "Elterich" Street - a street which does not appear on the Googlemap of town.

After spending all day Monday on the bus, I wrote about 100 pages during the week, which is crazy productive for me. I don't have a word count yet, because I have yet to actually type them.

I do, however, have a blister over the writing callus on my middle finger.

On Saturday, [ profile] pi_radical very sweetly drove us to Tacoma, where a barbecue was held in the land of the [ profile] singingbarrista.

Sunday after Mass, [ profile] jaynefury and I gardened. Huzzah!
Today I...

  • Went to 9:00 Mass at St. Patrick's with Francine
  • Stayed at church for about an hour, talking with friends. One of them is pregnant, which is just joyous.
  • Put (yet another) coat of primer on the two bedside dressers
  • Prayed
  • Swung on the porch swing awhile in thought
  • Dug in the garden for most of the afternoon (though it still looks like the surface of the Moon)
  • Showered
  • Did laundry
  • Read a little

Now I shall go for a walk.

This evening perhaps I shall read some more.

Quite the exciting life, I know.

Yesterday, I watched our Junior High basketball team wallop All Saints, picked up a few little somethings at Half Price Books, and wandered about Tacoma looking for a place to write. And then I wrote.
Well, "Klara" is out the door again, this time to Glimmer Train.

As I told someone recently, she's got more rejections than the Titanic has ice cubes. Now that I've got an agent telling me she does not suck ostrich eggs through straws, I'm a little more enthused about sending her out again.

I did a couple of minor edits that I think strengthen the villain Svejk a little and give a little more atmosphere to the Clock interior. We shall see.

Last night Francine and I had the perfect Geek Date™. After fish and chips at a new place on St. Helens, we talked writing and gardening at Doyle's, and finished the evening next door at King's Books* for an execrable poetry reading and to browse. I know Patrick, the owner, and we chatted a bit about writing and the latest news.

Francine today is off to get one of the kittens to the vet for a checkup and to schedule a spaying. Then she's heading to Kent to hang out with some knitting buddies.

I, on the other hand, am going to All Saints in Puyallup to our Junior High's last basketball game of the season. They're (miraculously) 4-2 right now, and I feel like I should see one of their games.

Afterwards, I will find a lovely café and write.

Now for the shower.

* The sign is yellow. I am not making this up.
I came to work yesterday, though once again there was no school due to ice on the ground. Growing up in Chicago, where an overnight foot of snow wasn't enough to close my high school, I am consistently amazed at how little winter is required to shut down western Washington.

There was no heat in the building. By noon, I was shivering so hard that it was difficult to work with Adobe InDesign - the mouse was just shaking all over the place. My Principal, the only other person working in the building, took me to lunch. We didn't get back until about 4:00PM. Fortunately, I'd e-mailed the advertisement to the newspaper before we left.

This morning, it snowed again. Initially, we were going to open two hours late. I got the cancellation call when I was already on my way to work. Today, though it was just me and the janitor, at least the building was heated. I updated the web site and worked on some more details for Catholic Schools Week - I'm assuming that we won't get another Ice Age between now and then.

The bus slid all over the road on the way here, so I stuck it out until midafternoon in hopes that it would get a little warmer. This strategy was only marginally successful. Home now, and desperately trying to warm up. Hmmm. Perhaps some tea...

In one bit of spectacularly good news, Senator Barack Obama has formed a Presidential Exploratory Committee. This can only be good for the state and level of discourse in this country. It's 1968 all over again (hopefully sans assassination this time).


23 Nov 2006 10:14
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Vashon ferry)
Thanks be to God for his wonderful creation and all of the creatures in it.

I am thankful for my hearth and home, for my lack of want, and for the friends and family which fill my life with joy and consternation in their turn.

A happy Thanksgiving to all!

(And for those of you across the pond, raise a pint for all the blessings in your life. Failing that, you can't go very wrong in simply raising a pint!)

Oh, and for those needing a smile, check out Thanksgiving Day holidays gone awry!

cheers to [ profile] bibliovixen

Three day weekend, starting today. Unsurprisingly, I'm mostly unpacking and cleaning and just generally puttering about the place. It's quite nice, actually.
We just returned from the fabulous three day wedding extravaganza of [ profile] llynecat and [ profile] samildanach, where much food and drink and laughter and geekery were in evidence. Entirely too many details to sort out just at the moment, but I have made several friends and renewed some fond acquaintances. More later. Hopefully.

I am, frankly, pretty darn tired. It was great coming back to our house. Less great, however, was seeing all the work that must be done.

A rather nice surprise awaited me, however, in the form of an mp3 file of the strings part of "Unspeakable Beauty". For those of you (and I know you're out there) who are relatively new to this journal, [ profile] chordam7 and I have been working on a Cthulhian opera for several years now. It just got another small step closer to completion.


22 Sep 2006 08:39
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Get thee to a Wombattery!)
I called in sick today because my body is in PAIN. I mean, my toes hurt.
Spent some time yesterday packing and getting more boxes. I think we might be OK in the cardboard container area for awhile.

Dragonboating in the morning for a couple of hours. I am very sore today.

In the evening, we went over to Stacey & Matt's bungalow-in-progress. Francine and Stacey made pizzas, a process which Matt and I largely avoided, other than one foray into the construction of a so-called "Meat lover's" pizza, which ended up having very little on it that actually qualified as meat.

Matt and I spent some time talking about what they've done to their bungalow, and what we're going to do to Pisachio House. His advice? "Start small if you can, get help, and borrow tools."

"Start small" indeed - this from a guy who refinished their floors before they moved in, and is currently in a year-long process of completely redoing their kitchen.

Later, we attempted to watch Thérèse, which was so truly awful that I fell asleep before it finished. Why, oh why can't somebody made a film about a saint that isn't either ridiculous or boring?

Today, we're heading down to the Abbey for Oblate Sunday. Then back to pack some more. Just at the moment, our flat is a wreck.

I will enjoy having moved, it's the process of moving I don't care for.

Odd dreams last night. Short story there, I believe.
I love my parents. Sure, we've had our disagreements (that was the early 90's, I think), but they've always been behind me, and they've always supported me, even if in my youth I didn't always agree with their methods.

When The King in Yellow premiered, my Mom sent me a yellow bouquet. I still have the funny little bee mug that came with. When The Resurrectionist (as awful as it was) premiered at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, somehow my Mom and my Sister were there to see it.

They've been a rock for me, and they still are.
I won't even pretend that this hasn't been a rough summer.

Francine's father, one of the coolest human beings I've been privileged to meet, died in July while I was visiting my parents in Chicago. By the time I returned, she was gone to Virgina. She was only back a couple of days when our effort to buy a house failed. Then my sainted1 grandmother died, and I was off again to Chicago. Whilst I was attempting to return to Tacoma, the airports went to Muppet Alert Level Ernie, causing all sorts of fun. As the Pakastani medical student behind me in the security line at O'Hare said, "Today is a great day to fly!"

This past week, I've been working wicked hours trying to catch up and get some more students into our school. Francine's been ill, and meanwhile I keep having dreams involving sixteenth century plate armour, Turkish cigarettes, muskets, and Czech beer.

No proper time for mourning, and yet some moments it all just hits me and I have to remember how to breathe.

The world, of course, marches on with or without our active participation.

Forget the mystery of Planet X, we're now up to XII. I suppose it makes sense - after nine the next mystic number is twelve. Of course, with the Amazing Multiplying Plutons2, we're likely to be up to 23 or 42 before you can say "Planet George".

Meanwhile, they still haven't officially named 2003 UB313. I'm holding out for "Yuggoth".

Not nearly so Pluto-shattering is the news that Johnny Depp will play Sweeney Todd. Pretty much made my morning, that did. Odd how similar their names are...

- - - - -
1: Yes, I mean that. OK, it's not like the Church is likely to take up her cause any time soon, but the woman was wholly holy.

2: I have all their albums.
Today is the feast of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe. I was reminded that, had my daughter Victoria made the mistake of being born a boy, his name would have been Maximilian Josef.

In other meanderings, I was pall-bearer at my grandmother's funeral. It turns out that the woman I knew as Florence Janowski had been born Slavomira Sufleta. Apparently her first grade teacher couldn't pronounce "Slavomira" and decided that she "looked like a Florence". So there you go. I could probably say something profound about the names we wear, masks, and identity, but frankly I'm not capable of such higher brain functions just at the momement.

I worked most of Saturday flogging the school, and we gave out over 500 helium balloons with brochures attached. Several were let loose into the air by the children (and adults) holding them, so I'm hoping that somewhere in south Tacoma, a brochure from our school has literally fallen from the heavens on to someone who needs the information. I've got 13 callbacks set for this afternoon.

My laptop is currently winging its way to Cuppertino for repairs, so several projects for work and pleasure (Hârn, anyone?) are on hold for the moment.

It's almost 1:30 - I should find some lunch...
It's now just after 5:00PM local west-coast time, and I'll be leaving for the airport in less than four hours.

My grandmother's wake is tomorrow, and the funeral is Tuesday. I'm to be a pallbearer, apparently. Due to the endless muddle that is last minute flying, I shan't be coming back until Thursday. I will be without my laptop and largely incommunicado until then.

Just in a complete dither. Pray for us.
Andrew thoughtfully sent me some photos of our paintball misadventure. This is my favourite.

Note the stylish "Digger" t-shirt.

Quite a busy weekend, best evidenced by the fact that I'm only writing about it on the following Thursday.

Friday evening [ profile] jaynefury and I saw the latest X-Men opus. It was, as the saying goes, not horrible. It did make me want to see the other two, which I had been avoiding. Thus, the past two nights have involved the DVD player, a comfy chair, and mutations galore. What impressed me most about the films, I think, is that the third is very neatly a complete inversion of the first.*

On Saturday we headed up to Seattle's FolkLife festival with Victoria, [ profile] gaelfarce, [ profile] pi_radical, and [ profile] singing_barista and her James sans LJ. Before we left, I checked three different weather services, and each gave completely different forecasts. Hot? Cool? Raining? Sunny? They all said something different.

Odd thing was, they were all correct in turns. I took off and put on my jacket and sweater so many times, I could feel myself burning calories in the effort to maintain a constant body temperature and surface moisture.

So. Drumming, dancing, eating, and watching folks prance around with bells, sticks and waving hankies. Good times.

Sunday after church was some major Hârnination. A combination of transporting a large rock, various peoples prosecuting a Kaldoric civil war, and the odd insane Sheriff proved a nearly lethal trifecta for the players. I'll try harder next time.

Monday was a day of errands oft neglected, though we had a nice dinner with [ profile] singing_barista and her James.

Meanwhile, at work we continue moving towards the hectic end of the year, preparing for next year, and dealing with a new pastor (a swell guy, but not yet arrived) and a new principal (not yet hired). No stress there. Huzzah!

- - - - -
* Islands on opposite coasts, curing mutants vs. mutating everyone else, and lots of other things I can't quite remember just now.
Utterly exhausted at the moment. I've managed somehow to get all of the deadline items on my calendar finished, at least until next week, except for the school play. Right now I'm at 10 days work in a row, many of them 15 hours long or more. It will be 16 days by the time I'm through. After the Cinderella weekend, my days will be much shorter, and I'm off Friday the 5th to take [ profile] jaynefury to Whidbey Island for a long weekend.
301 santa maria maggiore side chapel
I owe dinner to a fine band of Paladins, and an explanation of "Pod Parishes" to several snarky friends. Both will wait a bit longer, I'm afraid. At least a couple of days.
Dear friends, this being the feast of St. Isidore of Seville (the patron saint of the internet), I thought perhaps I'd open with a short quote.

If a man wants to be always in God's company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us. All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. (Maxims of St. Isidore, circa 620AD)

As an aside, I find the idea that a bishop was named "Isidore" roughly as amusing as one named "Thorsson" or "Jovian".

Sunday we attended the wedding of John Scott Tynes and Jennifer Scott Tynes (as I suppose I must now call them). It was held in an amazing old mansion in Seattle.

Some Pictures )

It was wonderful to meet [ profile] ktynes, [ profile] nallasenyt, [ profile] iamnikchick, and so many sans LJ. It was also quite nice to catch up with some old friends. I only wish there had been more time.

Yesterday while [ profile] jaynefury headed off to work, I had breakfast with Messers Scott Glancy and Andrew Migliore. Homland Security would no doubt be apalled at our lack of patriotism unquestioning obedience. Andrew was nice enough to give me a ride back to Tacoma.

I don't know if you've heard, but a number of Catholic bishops have come out very strongly against the new immigration "reform". The statement released by our own archbishop was essentially a call to civil disobedience. Huzzah!

Finally, a silly meme...

The Celestial Choir )

Edited to add: As usual, Francine puts in all the details I've left out.

02 April

2 Apr 2006 09:21
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Man in Rome)
Today at the 7:30 Mass, I lectored for the second time. Thanks be to God we remembered to reset the clocks!

A Year Ago Today )

O Blessed Trinity
We thank You for having graced the Church
with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to shine through him. Amen.
Today is the anniversary of the deaths of both Julius Caesar and of H.P. Lovecraft. This surely cannot be coincidence.

When I was a young man, my father confided to me how he finally realized he was middle-aged. "There is no morning," he said, "where something doesn't hurt when I wake up." Just so. It has gradually dawned on me that I am nine months from my fortieth birthday, and I cannot remember a morning when I woke up and something didn't hurt.

Yesterday there were 78 pieces of SPAM in my work e-mail account. They fell generally into three categories: hot stock tips, deals on software, and assorted medical means of helping out the hardware, so to speak. It occurs to me that I wasn't interested in any of it.

I spent several hours over the last few days beginning the transformation of a small room in the school from "piled high with junk we really need to have hauled away" to "computer lab and study hall". I was flabbergasted to learn that several teachers do not approve of this transformation, as they don't want to have to march their class up there to use the computers. As if I'm going to hold a gun to their heads and force them to use freely available resources.

We have a grant proposal due today. Aiiiee!

This morning on the bus, I discovered to my dismay that I'd somehow contrived to leave my breviary at home. Threw off my whole morning routine.

Two headlines on page 3 of my local paper: "FBI watched activists, say ACLU" and "Government still after Google data". On page 1 we have "Judge bars terror evidence" and "Young lungs earn woman top tuba seat". So for the front page we've got witness coaching and a tuba player; you've got to actually open the paper to learn that your civil rights are more theoretical than real. Oh, and the Iraqi War makes it to page 4.

Thesis: I'm feeling old and tired and helpless and not nearly eldrich enough.

Either that or I need a beer.

Edited to add: Upon further reflection, I could not remember having my breviary last night, either. I called the Pierce Transit lost and found. Sure enough, they've got it.

What the heck has happened to my brain? I suspect this is what they call "early onset dottiness". Harrumph.
Soon there will be coffee and walking down by Commencement Bay. Then writing. And stuff.

Snarky quote of the day:

If you cut out all the passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the poor, you'd have the perfect container to smuggle Rush Limbaugh's drugs in. (Al Franken)
He lives!

Updating from the Mandolin Café in Tacoma.

Still no internet at the flat. This is causing quite a bit of consternation, but after spending almost two hours on the phone with EarthLink (sic) the last time, I'm loathe to call them again. Except, perhaps, to cancel service (sic) entirely. Even given the holidays, we should have gotten a call to schedule repairs sometime late last year.

Francine is on the other side of the café setting up a photo shoot with [ profile] singingbarista and Lisa sans LJ. A quasi-bluegrass ensemble is playing behind me, and I'm sharing the table with two students who appear to be working on a translation from Greek. I think I'm beginning to like this place. I could write here.

Too stupid-busy to update at work. One of our big recruiting efforts, the dreaded Catholic Schools Week, is coming up at the end of the month, and there's so much to do I'm frankly swamped. There are moments when I look at what I've yet to do, and when I've got to have it done, that I'm in near-despair. And then I remember what their recruiting looked like before I got there, and I don't feel nearly so bad.

Based on the ship date, I should have gotten the proofs for The King in Yellow today. I didn't. Given the nature of the postal service around here, I am unsurprised but disappointed.
Another pointless meme, I suppose, though if anyone has any questions or requires clarifications, I'm sure I'd be happy to oblige.

Today was simply horrific. And I'm only exaggerating a wee. Yesterday was the school's Christmas Program, so of course I didn't get home until after 11:00, what with the buses and the missing of buses and the walking home from downtown in the freezing air bits.

So I was dragging a little today.

So far today I've: toted around Extremely Heavy Things, scooped ice cream to 150 or so students, witnessed a student have an allergic reaction so violent that paramedics were called and walls had to be mopped, helped with auditions for the school play, and watched several otherwise rational and together people have breakdowns due to assorted reactions (and lack of same) to projectile vomiting and assorted emergency medical procedures.

Oh, and I had to wash ice cream off of my sweater. Naturally, the blazing radiator in my office picked that very moment to shut off, so hours later the sleeves are still wet.

So yeah, one of those days. Exhausted and finding it difficult to concentrate or focus or much of anything. And I've got some serious housecleaning to accomplish before Saturday afternoon.

Right. So here's the Meme:

Read more... )
Rarely, oh so rarely, gentle reader, do I use the "dancing Calvin and Hobbes" icon for myself.

Today, however, I allow myself exception.

I start Friday as the new Director of Marketing and Admissions for Visitation Catholic School in Tacoma.

There are lots of details, of course, but those are for another day.

Right now my brain is dancing and my feet aren't far behind.

Felt slightly better this morning and so made the mistake of heading into work.

By the time I got to Mountlake Terrace, I was feeling quite poorly again and was regretting my decision.

As it turned out, not a whole lot would have been accomplished today even had I been feeling tip-top. My e-mail was down all day, and the application I'm documenting spent the better part of the day randomly logging me out.

And then there was the fire alarm. I thought my head was imploding, but as other people were clapping their hands over their ears, I deduced it was, in fact, a klaxon sounding. Between waiting for the fire marshal to arrive, and then waiting for him to inspect the building, that was pretty much 30 minutes of billable time with me standing in the overgrowth watching employees denude a blackberry bush.

Left early. Home now. More sleep. Or at least nothing too exhausting.
Apparently Lake Huron is draining through my sinuses and out my nose today.

My sneezing fits have finally gotten to the point where they're annoying me as well as my client's employees.

Despite this, I've finished off two chapters today. That's another 101 pages for them to ignore review.

Feeling miserable. Going home, now. Should be there in three hours.

What fun.

I've gone and joined the dark side.

After being subjected to noisy gossip from cellphonelady on the #41 bus, I was terrorized by deepbassleakingfromtheheadphonesguy behind me on the #347 bus.

I was trying (and largely failing) to write.

Enough is enough.

I bought an iPod shuffle.
It has been some days.

My Roman Name is Marcus Cornelius Nero.
Take The Roman Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

A rather busy weekend. Sunday, for example, we trucked it up to University Village in Seattle to pick up my daughter's laptop. It's a lovely old tangerine clamshell iBook that served me well for many years before transforming itself without warning one day into a lovely old tangerine clamshell iBrick.

The Apple store was very good about repairing it. Turns out the motherboard and virtually all of the interior electronics were fried. Once it was working, I gave it to Victoria for Christmas. It worked about three days and then returned to iBrick mode.

So I took it back to the shop, where they proceeded to once again replace most of the interior. This time, they even replaced the exterior face-plate surrounding the keyboard, which I had cracked years ago.

We think the culprit is the power cord, so I'm on eBay getting a new one.

Actually worked last week. Yesterday was a bit of a bust in terms of hours, but I'm hopeful for the rest of the week.

There's a Rome poem burbling through the back of my brain, but it's not quite coming out yet.

And how are you?