Articles for the Month of August 2013

Dragon Con – traveling

I am finally starting to get ready for Dragon Con. It’s already an adventure…originally I planned on taking all day on Thursday off from work so that I could pack and relax and have a travel day.

Well, scratch that plan. I accidentally scheduled a meeting at work that I have to attend. Mind you, I didn’t know I had to attend it when I scheduled it. So tomorrow, I will be showing up at work at 7:30am for an 8:00am meeting, driving directly from work to the dog sitter’s house, going from there to the airport and flying to Atlanta.

Once I get to Atlanta, I somehow have to be in two places at once (I’m pretty sure I can manage this with some creative texting) and get everything organized for the next day craziness that is Dragon Con.

For anyone looking for me, I will be at the Brobdingnagian Bards table in the Marriot Marquis Level near the Walk of Fame. Come by and say hi!

There is a possibility that we will be short staffed at the table due to a family emergency (not mine) if I already know you, and you’re willing to volunteer for a few hours, please come by and see me on Friday morning. See you at the Con!

The Brobdingnagian Bard Schedule is as follows: (subject to change)
1:00-2:00 pm : What Is Filk? (Baker, Hyatt 138)
2:30-3:30 pm: Meet & Greet: Performers, Fans, and Staff (Baker, Hyatt 138)
2:30-3:30 pm : How to Make Money With Your Podcast with Marc Gunn (Hilton 203)
10:00-11:00 pm : Brobdingnagian Bards Concert (Hyatt International North)

1:00-1:30 pm Concourse show
2:30-3:30 pm : InstaFilk! (Baker, Hyatt 138)
11:30-12:30 pm : Brobdingnagian Bards (Baker, Hyatt 138)

11:30-12:30 : Name that Tune with Andrew McKee (Baker, Hyatt 138)
1:00-2:00 pm : Workshop, Music Business 101 with Marc Gunn (Baker, Hyatt 138)
4:00-5:00 pm : Workshop – How to Record, Mix, and Master your music with Andrew McKee (Baker, Hyatt 138)
7:00-8:00 pm : Hobbit Drinking Songs
10:00-11:00 pm : Brobdingnagian Bards Concert (Hyatt Int’l North)

11:30-12:30 : Podcasting Your Music with Marc Gunn (Hilton 203)
2:30-3:30 pm : Pub Songs Podcast Live! – Marc Gunn’s ONE SOLO SHOW of the year!

100 years and counting

20130826-212438.jpgThis past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my grandfather’s 100th birthday party. His actual birthday isn’t for a few more days, but well; scheduling the entire family gets tricky. Arriving on Friday night I had the chance to visit with all of my cousins, their spouses, and kids. I remember remarking to someone how it would be nice if the ‘younger’ generation got a chance to visit… and then I realized that I am no longer part of the ‘younger’ generation. The youngsters now range in age from two weeks old up to just starting Jr. High. (It was still a good idea for them to get to spend some time together) I can hardly say however that it made me feel old, given the reason for the gathering.

My grandfather has done and seen quite a bit with his years. Born before the start of World War I, he remembers that war (barely); the great depression, where he worked as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps in northern Wyoming; serving in World War II, where he had to get a permission slip from his wife because he was ‘too old’; raising three daughters along with the help of his wife and live-in mother-in-law; and working as a salesman on the road until he retired. Now all of that was just the first 50 years or so…

Around the time he retired (slightly before) he started buying and selling and renting houses to keep himself busy, taking road trips with his wife, traveling the world, and becoming a wonderful backyard gardener. (Other than the traveling bit, he was still doing most of this up to about six months ago) After his first wife died, a few years passed and he married his second wife (around the age of 85 if memory serves…and it may not) and spent several years living happily with her before she had medical problems that required her to live in a nursing home. He visited her and brought her flowers every day for nearly 5 years before she passed on. Then, about age 96 (my memory isn’t the absolute greatest) he married his third wife, who he lived quite happily with until very recently when his medical problems intervened. (She’s an absolute peach, and a great cook).

This weekend we all got together to celebrate 100 years. The mayor of his town declared his birthday J.C. Campbell day, with an official certificate, and friends and family from around the country gathered to enjoy cake and good company. He also got to meet his newest great grandchild, born two weeks ago.

I sincerely hope that a) I live as long, with as good a health as he has been blessed with b) that I have as many good friends and family around with me to celebrate it.

Happy Birthday Pa!

From the Dating Archives: Seriously Annoying Talkative Guy

20130821-172544.jpgHow’d you like a nickname like that? Unfortunately, once a nickname comes to mind for someone, it usually sticks. (As an example, the very nice people that lived just down the road from me became the industrious hippies. I have no recollection of their actual names, but they were definitely industrious, as I watched them transform their mess of a backyard into a veritable cornucopia of gardens. I believe she made bead jewelry for a living…hence the hippy. ) I digress.

I met this gentleman online, as with many of my potential dates; the significant difference being, he actually was a gentleman. For our first date we met up at 29th street mall, with the intention of going somewhere else from there. He didn’t look much like his photo, so I almost didn’t recognize him. His opening gambit into conversation was, of all things, politics. Now, most of you who know me know that I am a moderate Republican. When I say moderate Republican…that’s only because of the state I currently live in. When I lived in Texas, I was considered a moderate Democrat. My ideas haven’t changed, just the bent of the people around me.

After determining that we would go to Red Lobster for dinner, he returned to the topic of politics. What followed can only be described as comical, entertaining, and disturbing at the same time. The gentleman in question was not born in the US. As I recall, he was actually Australian. We proceeded to have an extremely lively debate on American Politics …for 7 hours. It was exhausting. In addition, he was so extreme in his socialist views that I actually found myself offended; and I am not easily offended. After 7 hours of this, where I swear he must not have taken more than one breath every 10 minutes, I finally managed to tell him that I had to go, that my poor puppy would be starving. (Thank goodness for puppies!)

I did agree to see him again, because despite his extreme views, he was actually well spoken, and if he could put that sort of energy into discussing other topics then he might be someone fun to associate with.

The second date – was cancelled due to flu.

The second attempt at a second date – We did actually managed to discuss literature, popular culture and local attractions – for about an hour and a half – before the topic went right back to politics. And then there was another 5 hours of politics. Because he was so very talkative, and so seldom came up for breath, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise even to excuse myself from the conversation. Again, I found myself becoming angry and offended, which is such a novel feeling for me when discussing politics. After I managed to escape (because believe me, it was indeed escape) I promised myself I would tell him ‘no’ if he asked me out again. He did ask me out again, and I didn’t tell him no…what I did instead was promptly come down with the flu. No really… I actually had the flu. So after trying to re-schedule about 3 times he finally gave up. Not my finest moment in being assertive, but I truly couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Moving in

20130820-090139.jpg The past week or so has seen me busy with settling in at my new place, trying to unpack, and adjusting my schedule to accommodate walking my dog twice a day. Honestly, the last one, along with re-kennel training my cat, has been the most challenging. (Yes cats can be kennel trained, and I DO recommend it).

After I got everything unpacked, I discovered that I have too much furniture for the space that I’m renting. Basically I’m renting a room in a house. It’s a bigger room than I had before, but in addition to all of the furniture in my old room, I’ve added a large dog kennel, a small cat kennel, two bookshelves, and a king size bedframe, with a queen size bed on it (it came that way, and I didn’t have to pay for it, so I’m not complaining) I finally managed to get everything organized, but there will be a few things that I have to take back to storage.

Walking the dog twice a day has been both challenging and educational. If I walk the dog at 6am, there is no one around and I have the paths mostly to myself, if I walk the dog at 7am, it’s like grand central station. Evening walks are of a similar bent. Thankfully Aslan, (my dog) has improved his walking skills considerably in the past week. He is no longer dragging me all over creation every time he sees a new doggie friend, he his happy to walk without pulling on the leash, most of the time at least, and everyone says how pretty he is. (This is despite his desperately needing a bath.) The most challenging thing now seems to be walking by the prairie dog colony. Did you know that Prairie Dogs sound just like squeaker toys?

Re-kennel training the cat involved several nights of being woken up at 3:00am by a very loud cat. Mischief is accustomed to spending nights outside hunting, and really that’s what he’d rather be doing. The first night he woke me up yowling I caught him and put him in the kennel. The second night he woke me up with his yowling I put him in the dog’s kennel. (That was entertaining for me, but he didn’t much care for it. I think Aslan explained proper kennel behavior to him though.) The third night he spent – most – of the night in his own kennel and only mewed a bit. The last two nights he hasn’t made a peep until my alarm goes off in the morning. Progress.

We’ll see how both of them do when I return from my vacation.

Moving is no fun…

Moving is no fun… everyone knows that, and unlike some things that “everyone knows” this one is true. Last night I moved from the house in the mountains that I helped build, to one bedroom in a house in Boulder. The new place isn’t bad mind you, my bedroom is actually bigger, there’s just a lot more stuff in it. (And all the stuff is piled around, once it’s organized, hopefully it will be fine.)

I took off work 2 hours early yesterday, and thank goodness for that! Originally we (me and my lovely assistant) had estimated that it would take 2 truck-loads to get all of my stuff down, plus a trip to Longmont to pick up a bed that someone was very kindly giving to me. Well, we were off by one.

When I got to the house after work, it was naturally pouring down rain – but since we had to move everything from my second floor bedroom, we just started schlepping stuff down the stairs until the rain let up.

The first load was all of the big stuff – bookcases, a big chair, a brand new chest freezer…that sort of stuff, so though it was a very full load there wasn’t actually all that much stuff in it. Somehow, despite my best efforts, the guy helping me out ended up doing a lot of the heavy lifting. (This is only a problem because he has a back problem, and I always feel bad about making it worse). First load accomplished without too much of a headache, and only a tiny bit of rain.

Since we were running a bit early, we headed back up to Jamestown to get the second load. Naturally, as soon as we start loading the truck, it starts raining again. This load was primarily light weight stuff thankfully, and quite a bit of it. Only one piece of furniture got water-damaged, and I’m hoping I can fix it.

After the second load from Jamestown, we trekked over to Longmont to pick up this bed. Now – I’m getting this bed sight unseen, someone from the church had one that they needed to get rid of because they were moving back to Utah for school. It was very nice of them to just give it away. Honestly I was expecting just a mattress and box springs, maybe with one of those metal frames. What I got was a nice wooden bedframe and headboard (king size I think) with a nice firm queen size mattress, a feather filled mattress cover (think pillow top cover. Anyone want it? I’m allergic to feathers…) AND a regular mattress cover on top of that. As we’re loading it all into the truck, it starts sprinkling again. Not really hard enough that I’m concerned at this point, the mattress covers should protect the mattress. On our way back to Boulder –it started to rain, then it poured. And by poured I mean cats and dogs…

When we got to the house we scrambled to get the mattress under cover, and then got –soaked- getting the bedframe into the garage. And then it started raining even harder…. I had to run back out to the truck for a forgotten part, and was soaked to the skin in under a minute.

We got the bedframe upstairs and put together; thankfully not all that difficult a task, but I was most grateful to have help with it. Then we had to haul the mattress up; I am fairly convinced that moving mattresses is the worst part of moving. They’re heavy, there’s nothing to hold on to, they don’t maneuver well at all, and about the only benefit is that they’re soft, so if they fall they likely won’t kill anyone. We did get it up the stairs, and placed, and then both agreed that we were pooped and weren’t going to get the last load until Tuesday.

Payment for friends helping you move is generally pizza and beer; we opted for Chinese instead. I do feel bad, I left a huge mess in the living room in Jamestown, but I’ll go back up this afternoon and get the last load and clean stuff up.

The Dating Professional

So by the title, dear reader, you might think that I mean the professional dater, someone who dates frequently, but is attached to none. In fact, I mean the Dating Professional – someone who, for a living, helps other people learn how to get dates, build their confidence, or in general increase their positive social interactions. The movie Hitch with Will Smith would be a sample. (Apparently you can actually make decent money doing this, who knew).

Last night my date and I met up at the Teahouse in Boulder. A lot of my dates end up happening in Denver or Westminster, so this was a pleasant change for me. Given that it was the end of the month, this was certainly easier on the pocketbook as well – gas is expensive! We did confirm in advance; after some of my recent experiences, it seemed prudent. Lo and behold, he was on time, looked like his photo, had bathed in the relatively recent past, and was dressed nicely! So far this was very promising.

Given that it was an evening date, I did think we might have dinner, but settled for tea instead (see above comment about end of the month). We chatted for a while –I told him about my blog, and he revealed that his primary industry was in fact, shall we say, interpersonal relations. Apparently for the past number of years, he’s been giving workshops in the north east on dating, running dating groups, and generally teaching men and women to be more attractive to the opposite sex. What an entertaining job! Bonus number 2 – he picked up the tab. As I’ve said in prior entries, I don’t expect men to pay all the time, but it is nice when they do.

We wandered around Boulder a bit after that, meandered along the creek and watched the bats until the bugs got too bad. Then I let him convince me to take a ride on his scooter – fun and convenient but I expect not really my thing. (I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a scooter, I’m glad I had the chance to ride one before I made the decision.)

When he dropped me off at my car, he was smart – he set up our next date then – I guess being a dating professional does give you some insights. Guys/girls – this is a great thing to do if you want a second date. Occasionally it doesn’t work out, but more often than not it does.

Now I can just hear some of you “A -dating professional- sure…what you mean is pickup artist…” Keep in mind, I’ve met a few of those too, but this didn’t seem to be one of them. Or if he is, he’s really good at it, and considerably less slimy than most. (And heck, pickup artists ARE entertaining, as long as you see them coming) On the whole, I’d say this was one of the better dates that I’ve had in the past month or so, and well worth a repeat visit.