Saturday, I did some updates on my finances that I had been avoiding for a few months: namely credit card spending. The great part about my Citibank card is they let me download my statements in a raw tabbed format, so I can easily manipulate them with Perl. Sadly, my other credit cards do not, and I have to enter in everything by hand. Thankfully, 95% of all transactions are done on the Citibank card, which we use for almost all purchases. This is how I could afford to fly to Sweden on the cheap; this card has airline miles. But it also helps track spending, and the number one “we really don’t have to spend this money” category is probably the same as most of you: eating out. I don’t want to tell you how much we have spent on that since June, but you don’t have to tell me, either, so it evens out :). Please don’t tell me, “You should bag your lunch, eat more meals at home, here’s some sites of cheap recipes...” We know. It’s not that we don’t want to do this, we’re just really bad at it, and any excuses we have to eating out are pathetic. I also got my backlog of shredding done. I shred anything that might be considered “damaging in the wrong hands,” like expired account records, credit card apps, and the like, and shred them with all my junk mail so if anyone sorts through my cross cut shreddings for whatever purpose, I am being a rat bastard by making them have to sort the 90% that is unsable. Hah. But sadly, this tends to take a while, and so there was a box next the shredder that was piling up. When I got done with it, the result filled a 55 gal trash bag and part of a 30 gal one.
I wish I had a pulping machine like the US Treasury. They take old currency and convert it into a pasty gruel (or did in the 1980s, maybe they do something different now). I considered composting the shreddings, but I don’t know the effects of random mail on my compost pile or future plants that grow in it, with regards to chemicals for ink and paper in junk mail, not to mention random plastic bits from shredded CDs, cards, and envelope windows. But if the paper was eco-friendly, I would imagine it would make the soil more airy over time. Input from gardeners?
Saturday evening, I went to Sean’s Birthday Party an had a good time. I didn’t take more than a few photos, but cyaneyed took a bunch, and here they are, if you are curious. Man... I met some characters, but it’s probably not polite to talk behind their backs. One good character I saw was Bob, a guy I worked with for many years. He got laid off when the Wardialing department closed in 2004, and hasn’t gotten a job since. Discussions on how we were laid off shed some light on the way they did it. Also in attendance were other former AOL employees, and we all had a “good cry over the past,” figuratively speaking.
I got to see Jen D, one of the FEW people from McLean High school I have ever met after graduation from my class (1987). It’s always good to talk to Jen.
We awoke early Sunday to hurry to the Renn Fest before the parking got too... aw... too bad. We had a long walk, even though we got there right before it opened. We paid for anyarm‘s ticket just to be nice, and got instead in trade of her fetching stuff for us all day. She even drove the car up so takayla didn’t have to walk too far. We saw Kenny Lull, and lost him to the winery. We saw the Heare family, and I hung out with them for a bit. I also saw dreamtigress, and we discussed how good she looks on TV (she was featured on a crafts show for HGTV). We saw squire_liz and this guy who I swear looks like her boyfriend (yes, I know, this is a private joke between us I may explain someday).
I also have a picture of Liz’s razor sharp skills as an “public equestrian collections agent.” Ha ha! This reminds me of a story from my acting days.
We had a guy named Kurt on the “Diary of Anne Frank” cast who played one of Anne’s brothers. We were having a discussion backstage about how you can do certain things that will completely detract an audience from a scene; a trick used by stage magicians, but we were joking around how we could just ruin a scene with something innocuous, and I disagreed. So, one night, he took some tape, and put it on the bottom of a glass. He filled the glass with some liquid, and in the last scene he drank from it, but instead of putting the glass back on the table, he put it far off the edge of the table. The effect was this: the tape held it on the edge, but you couldn’t see the tape unless you were right next to the glass, so it seemed like the glass was too far off the edge of the table and would crash to the floor. You’d think no one would care, but it freaked everyone out, and the audience was sure this was a glass that would crash to the floor at any moment someone bumped the table, especially during the “OMG we’re hiding from the Nazis!” scene. The stage manager kept hissing at him to put the glass back, but he kept grabbing the wrong thing, and so on. And all the glass did was hang there, seemingly out of balance, but never falling. Kurt got in trouble for that one. Oh, and for also drawing lewd pictures during scenes where he was supposed to teaching Anne in the background.
“I’m sorry Mr. Duncan,” Loren )Anne) said while trying to hush up the giggles during a dress rehearsal, “Kurt is drawing the most... descriptive and creative angles of women’s genitalia I have ever seen.”
So... it was just amazing how a horse making pony loaf just sucked the audience away from all the yelling and screaming from our section. You’d think they were transfixed by the arrogance of the offending material lying in the combed dirt. And when some squire would be running after a broken joust tip or helmet, they gasped as the squires’ boots deftly missed soiling themselves in used hay nuggets, like prancing fools in a minefield. Then a horse ran through it, and you’d think they ruined grandpa’s birthday with a poorly placed swear word right before cake was served because, “OMG!” they seemed to collectively say in horror, “POOPIE!!11!” Some got mad. Notably kids, who exposed hidden trauma in their toilet training with comments about how disgusting horses were, not using a toilet in the privy of their own stall or anything. The very presence of horsey fun balls completely distracted the crowd from large senseless men wearing pots and pans and beating each other with sticks, entertainment I found much more intellectually distracting, if anything, to see a horse crash the rider into the balcony and giggle (horses, as horse owners know, have a big sense of humor). Come on people. We’re not THAT far removed from nature, are we? We poop, horses poop, even whales poop. The crowd was so stunned, you’d think they watched Rainbow Brite have her period ala that scene in “Carrie.” Just wait until you’re hospitalized and immobile, or god forbid, have to change a diaper. You get over that hoity-toity recoil awfully fast.
I ate a lot of food, and remarked how the Renn Fest is trying less and less to try and be period authentic with their cuisine, and how most everything is deep fried in some way. Don’t get me wrong, macaroni and cheese on a stick, deep fried mushrooms, and sweet potato fries are very yummy... just not very period. They even had, no lie, quesadillas this year. I think quesadillas should have at LEAST tried to be sold by people with Aztec or Mayan garb. Not that I think they invented it, but that’s at least close to Mexico without being a Spanish conquistador.
Anyway we left because we all got real tired by 3pm, and anyarm had to take care of her dogs.
Today was a little depressing: a filling I just had put in cracked, so I had to get that fixed, so I can’t eat anything for a few hours. I still have 2 more cavities to fill (which were detected back in July), and I had to schedule yet another appointment. On top of that, I have a mild cold, and mildly twisted my ankle on the Metro because I stepped on a rock at the exact wrong angle to cause me to tumble to the pavement. Owies all around.