([personal profile] herooftheage Jul. 18th, 2017 12:51 pm)
Today I tried out my new Weed Dragon flame thrower.

It is definitely not a WWII clear-out-the-bunkers flamethrower - fortunately. It's also more than a glorified heat gun. When fully operational, it spits out approximately a one-foot blowtorch-style flame. Today I just did a small test run on some weeds growing up out of the cracks in my driveway. It looks like it killed everything, but I'm going to check on Thursday to see if there's any regrowth involved.

My tentative conclusion is that this is a very useful weeding tool, but for me, at least, it takes two people to operate: one to run the blowtorch, and one to operate the garden hose. It's another thing Meredith and I will get to do together.
([personal profile] herooftheage Jul. 17th, 2017 09:10 pm)
So I've been having problems opening up the blister packs for the smart pills I take (basically, lithium and some other stuff). Today, I discovered that removing the thin plastic seal that covers the pop-out section makes getting the things out much easier. So apparently, the stuff works. :)
([personal profile] herooftheage Jul. 17th, 2017 01:56 pm)
I just got told my name came to the top of the waiting list for the Western Martial Arts Workshop! Chicago, here I come!

Posted by Lady of the Manners

Snarklings, it's time for a seasonal column. By which the Lady of the Manners means that in the hemisphere she lives in, it's summer; her least favorite season. ::shudders::

Forgive the Lady of the Manners her melodramatic turn, Snarklings. There are many goths who like, nay, even adore summer! Warm weather! Longer days! More plentiful outdoor activities! There are those who are kind of meh about the whole sunlight thing. Then there are those (the Lady of the Manners included) who thanks to genetics, illnesses, medications, or who knows what else, don't deal well with prolonged exposure to sunlight. (As the Lady of the Manners has said before, eventually she'll develop the fun symptoms of vampirism, like mind control.)
([personal profile] herooftheage Jul. 13th, 2017 01:28 pm)
So coming up on Pennsic, we have the perennial dance of allocating land for people to camp on. It's a tough problem, and the set of choices we've made about it has both good and bad points to it.

For those not in the know, what happens is we all divide into groups, report how many people are in our group (by pre-registering), and pick a block we'd like to camp in, along with a couple of alternatives. The powers that be then assign groups to blocks based on space and preference, giving weight to history, so that if you've been in a block before, you have priority over new groups who'd like to come in. The groups then negotiate where in the block they'd like to camp, draw up a map, and get it approved - and if they can't agree, the land staff arbitrates their dispute. I gather that if that latter process goes on for a significant time, the arbitration becomes more and more heavy-handed, but as I've never been part of that process, I can't really speak to it.

Practically speaking, the result of all this is that, +/- some space along your borders, groups pretty much camp where they did last year, or else improve if a vacancy opens by another group disbanding.

There are several good points to this: folks know where you are, so they can find you year after year; you get used to the place you are camping in, and so begin optimizing behavior to take advantage of the good features and minimizing the poor features of your usual campsite; the system allows for the people having different preferences - we like our campsite even with it's downsides, because it's pluses are very important to us; and for many of the blocks, "negotiations" are little more than a brief conversation along the lines of "same as last year?"

But there is what I think of as a very large negative to this system, which we downplay more than I think we should - the haves stay the haves, and the have nots stay the have nots.

By way of example, our camp has been in its spot for 25 years, give or take. It has a flat ridge that we put about a third of our tents on, an uncampable hillside with flat spots interspersed that we put the rest of our group in as we can; it is back off the road so the rest of Pennsic mostly disappears when you come into it; there's shade; there's protection from the elements. Basically, if you can stand the slope it's a very nice camp.

Behind us. for many years, was House Maxwell. All their land was slopey (though not as slopey as ours), there was no shade whatsoever, and a well-travelled road abutted two sides of their camp, so that noise was always a clear and present companion. There are certainly things they liked about their camp, but on every objective level, our space is better than their space.

Did we ever swap off so they got the good space, and we were out in the world? No, we did not. It never even came up as a possibility. I often wonder if it should have.

We have a new group coming into our block this year. They're small. I hope we treat with them both well and fairly. I'm sure we'll do our best, but for me, at least, I think that means at least a tacit acknowledgement that "our" land is a statement about the past, and not automatically one about the future.
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