Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What's So Special

I'm sure all of you have heard of the profiling, networking, internet giant called MySpace. What's so special about it? I mean, really. I'd really like to know. I get several people a day asking me why I'm not on MySpace. "Everyone is there" they say.

At the suggestion of a few people, I created a profile on one of those online meeting/dating websites (hereafter referred to as omdw, while I'm still feeling it out) a few weeks ago. I've seen how some of them work by watching a friend. For the most part, you can't get anywhere unless you're tricky or give them money. I understand capitalism just fine, but I'm not going to part with my hard-earned cash unless I know what I'm paying for is worth it. Why pay for nothing?

Ironically, while I was driving into work this morning, I started thinking the omdw was not a good idea (not a bad one, mind, more like a 'why' kind of idea) and was going to pull my free, can't-do-anything-anyway profile from it today or soon™. When I checked my e-mail this morning, I actually had a few hits waiting for me. (ASIDE!! I'm at work, of course, and had to type a customer's name. The name was Hess, but for some reason, Hell is what I typed. I thought it was funny.) Of course, that's all well and good, and these gents look pretty interesting, but I still don't know if the site is worth my limited greenbacks.

What does this have to do with the initial MySpace question? I'll tell you. Being the intuitive, queen of dig that I am, I know that anyone can find me if they but know my screenname (try it, Google Fyrecreek and see what you get). I went out on a limb and googled the screenname of one of the hits I got this morning. Sure enough, they use the same screenname in various places, including MySpace. And then, yet again, I've been asked why I'm not on MySpace.

Frankly, it's the little kids/predators hype that keeps me away. Yes, I know, I'm not a little kid, and I know that I'd easily deflect those nasty people who prey on them, and I know that MySpace isn't the only site of its kind so the problem happens elsewhere. But there is the fact that MySpace is pretty much the only site that ever gets named by the media in such cases, they should have some responsibility, and I therefore want nothing to do with them. Maybe it's just a matter of principal. Also, every profile I've ever seen on MySpace looks all jumbled and messy. At least my websites have a sense of order. (They do, don't they? You'd tell me if my layouts looked awful or junky, right?)

Besides, I don't need a MySpace blog. That's what this site is for!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Three Days Never Enough

Saturday was hot, but not unbearable. Which was nice because a friend of mine and I spent the day at the Virginia Renaissance Festival (yes, Virginia, you have a Renaissance festival). I have gone only once before, a few years ago, and it was a far cry from the Maryland faire I know and love. I was expecting this year's to be much the same, except they appear to be under new management and are sporting a new, possibly permanent, location at the Lake Anna Winery (really close to the North Anna Nuclear Power Station).

The merchants were still set up in tents (unlike the permanent structures in Crownsville) but there was quite a variety of them. We didn't take in any shows or try to follow the storyline because there was so much shopping to do. It was a larger site than I expected, but still not on the scale of the MD festival. I was pleasantly surprised and would be willing to return next year. It was also great to spend the day with my friend, and look at all the neat stuff, and chat with all the people we knew from MD. Next time, I'll drink more water, since I managed to get a crippling migraine that prevented me from joining another friend for a movie in the evening.

I saw X-Men 3 on Sunday. If you're a die-hard, the-comic-is-how-it-is kind of X-fan, don't bother (but you already know that from the previous 2 movies). Taken as it's own, unrelated-to-the-comics story, it was pretty good. I'm not a die-hard X-Men comic fan, but I know enough to know they changed quite a bit to fit their purpose. There was a little girl behind me who was crying because of what they changed and how she didn't like it.

Yesterday was hotter than Saturday. But, we packed up our kayaks and hit Jug Bay anyway. My aunt who is visiting from Utah rented one and was able to join us (yay!), and Fox with his new kayak. We wanted to take my aunt down Mattaponi Creek (remind me to tell you a Mattaponi story from Saturday), but the rental launch site is on the other end of the bay from the landing we usually use. We did it anyway, but only got about halfway down the creek before stopping at the observation tower for lunch and heading back. It was a good thing though, because going back up the bay was exhaustive! My aunt did really well, Fox did pretty good in his brand-new, exactly-like-mine Hobie. We were out there for a good four hours (about 1030 to 1430ish), with an hour or so lunch break. Not to bad for such a hot day. Afterwards, my parents and I were treated to a nice, protein filled dinner at Red Robin by my aunt. Not a bad end to a holiday weekend. Let the kayaking begin!

And before I go, about Mattaponi. :) I went to Mattaponi Elementary School, which is not very far from Mattaponi Creek (ni, in this case, is more like the 'ni' in knight than the 'ny' in pony, by the way). I always knew it was a Native American name, it was once described to me that it means 'where the waters meet,' named for a place where four rivers (the Mat, the Ta, the Po, and the Ni) come together. I also knew that Mattaponi people still live along the Mattaponi River in Virginia. I'm not sure if their territory once extended to the creek (that's a long way) but that's not important, really. While we were driving to the VA Renaissance Faire, we crossed the Ni. Once I realized it, I consulted the map and noticed we would also be crossing the Po, and if we went south enough, we would cross Ta and Mat (I'm not sure about Ta, we definitely did not cross Mat). Further consultation of the map showed Mat and Ta converging to become Matta (simple :) and later joining a bit downriver of where Po and Ni had already come together. The collective four rivers was, you guessed it, Mattaponi River. Get a Virginia map, look it up. It's pretty cool when you find confirmation that something you've known all along is true. I would like to be closer to Mattaponi River so I could kayak it, but I've also heard that parts are rapids. It's just as well!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Committee On...

We were Race Committee last night, which means we set the course and keep the time and don't actually sail. The course is set based on the direction and speed of the wind. Normally, the Genoa class boats (of which we are) will sail a shorter course than the Spinnaker boats, but this time we decided to give everyone the short course because the wind was so light. One Spinnaker complained, so we changed it. Nearly an hour after the start, when no one had rounded the first mark, we consulted the fleet and shortened the course. That same Spinnaker captain who wanted the long course then came back and suggested we shorten it even more, which we did not do. Everyone finished at a reasonable time, so it was all good! He was just being a wimp. =)

Even with light wind and no sail, it was still a nice night. Some pretty sunsets and me without my camera (again!).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Pebbles and Faeries

We went riding again yesterday! Two days, two horses, two P-names?

Pebbles was a similar color to Peepers, but a very different horse!

Pebbles still liked to be at the front of the line (I like it there too). Actually, she really wanted to walk beside the line. Fox rode Storm and they were able to be behind me the whole time, which was nice to have my riding buddy nearby. Pebbles liked walking me into trees, and one point she nearly bounded into the brush like a deer, but I screamed whoa! and she stopped and I put her back on the path. That would not have been too fun, there was no path there! I'm not as sore today as I was last time. Eight more times of this, and the stable won't consider me a beginner anymore!

After our ride, we went to the Maryland Faerie Festival. This isn't a big to-do like local Renaissance or Celtic Festivals, more like a faerie-themed craft fair, but still fun. There was a leather-bag maker (I had bought a bag from her last year) who had new bags made with natural-shed antlers. I could not resist! There was another vendor who made really cute stuffed animals and I bought a little unicorn. It was actually a low-spending outing, all things being considered.

Welcome to the days of busy weekends!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

For Deanna and Nathan


(And because I know you're wondering, the Vicar did perform the ceremony, but we were ready to go just in case. It was lovely!)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Meaning of Om

Last night, the wind started out calm and so the course was short. It picked up and dropped off every now and then, and made for a very fun race. We did not finish last! At the end we started up the harbor channel under sail, listening to the water lap around us. We actually could have gotten into the dock much sooner, but we were taking our time. It was so still and clear near the horizon, we could even see the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (from Herrington Harbor, that is very rare). One of the crew had mentioned how some of her friends talk about their need for the "speed of an engine." That's good for them, but I'd rather hear the sound of the universe existing. Have you heard it?

Friday, May 12, 2006

You May Call Me Reverend

I have been ordained in the Universal Life Church!
Ok, the story of this is kind of funny.

There is a couple whom I met through my work at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, but my father has known for longer than my lifetime. These two have been 'planning' their wedding for almost as long as I've known them. At least once a year, they get asked when the wedding will be. For the longest time, the only thing any of us knew was that it will be Renaissance-themed.

Our clique from RenFest meets the first Sunday of every month in the off-season for brunch in Annapolis. It was the December or January meet when they finally said "Mark your calendars for May 20th!" Needless to say, we wasted no time marking that date.

The bride joined us for brunch this past Sunday, and got to catch us all up on the progress of the wedding. She described it as wedding planning from hell. Now, I don't believe in hell, but if there was a hell, it would be the last few months that this poor woman had to go through.
To start, she's been in and out of the hospital for extremely high blood pressure. She was going to get her dress from an acquaintance, who had a family emergency and had to leave town. She and her fiance were ordered to go to couples counseling classes by the vicar who will be officiating the wedding. The classes were a trial in themselves, no one knew where they were to be held (including the vicar), the instructors turned off their cell phones for the class, so they couldn't call. To make a long story short, they spent all day looking for it and ended up not finding it (we think the vicar is letting that part go, however). The worst part came up last week. The vicar told the bride she needed to produce her divorce papers or she would not perform the ceremony. This is bad because the bride's divorce happened over 20 years ago, she has no idea where they are. She was advised to contact the county for a copy of the document, and (after a long search to find out which county she was in at the time) she did so. The county clerk said, "no problem, the fee is this, and it will take 4 to 6 months." Never mind that the wedding is in three weeks! They explained this to the vicar who remained adamant, she will not perform the ceremony without seeing those papers. Basically, the bride is proceeding as planned and none of us are sure that this 10 year in the making wedding will actually take place.

So I came up with a solution! I, and a friend who wanted to offer his support, will get ordained so if the vicar refuses to officiate on the 20th, he and I can do it. We've been waiting for this wedding for 10 years, if this is what I have to do to see it done, so be it!

It's slightly ironic, since I don't know the first thing about officiating a wedding (outside of EverQuest, but that's something else altogether!), and I'm not particularly fond of weddings in general. Oh, the sacrifices I'll make to see that two people who belong together stay that way!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How does a teenager get an AK-47?

Yesterday, just at the time I was leaving the office around 3:30 in the afternoon, chaos erupted at the county police station across the street. This happened behind me along my commute, so my father and I spent half of the 50 mile drive counting the emergency vehicles who were rushing to the scene, lights and sirens and helicopters blazing. There were 25 along our way alone. WTOPNews radio, a vital frequency for anyone who drives in the Washington Metropolitan area, was reporting the incident as it related to traffic and getting around the area. It was a full 20 minutes from when we first saw the cruisers speeding past before there were any details, and they were foggy at best.

Shots fired, suspect on the scene, suspect at large, officers down.

The office park where my building is located was locked down, as well as local schools and businesses, roads were closed off, and anyone caught driving or attempting to drive on them was pulled over and their business questioned. The station is located at a major intersection on a major throughway to a major airport, and the incident happened at the start of the evening rush hour. The region spent the night in confusion, wanting details but getting none. There was nothing but news on the television, and every reporter was reporting something different.

The morning found us in a kind of haze. We have more details now, but some are still not clear. 3 individuals were wounded, one was an officer who is still in critical condition, the other two, an officer and a civilian, were treated and released. 2 individuals died from their wounds, one was the 18 year old gunman, the other was the first officer to be killed by an assailant in the line of duty in the department's entire 66 year history. The sad irony of the incident is that it occurred on the day the county commemorated a memorial to fallen officers, the county has only ever lost three officers in the line of duty, to traffic accidents, before yesterday.

The gunman is described to be a troubled youth who believed he had a problem with the police. He did have a prior record. There is no talk today of the second suspect the media was alluding to yesterday.

Trigger happy shooting sprees are still fresh in the minds of the people in this area, especially as the convicted DC sniper begins his second trial for murders in Maryland in 2002. Today, the office is quiet and muted, even the phones are not ringing today. It is dark from the blinds that were pulled over the windows that no one has bothered to raise. Even the skies are gloomy and gray.

Take a moment and remember.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Unexpected Tennessee

I'm sitting here at work, doing work, and a brief passage of a play I worked with in my first acting class has popped into my head.

"It's been too long a time since we've leveled with each other. Now tell me things. What have you been thinking in the silence, while I've been passed around like a dirty postcard in this city. Tell me. Talk to me. Talk to me like the rain and I will lie here an listen."

It was a fun exercise: we split into groups and broke the passage up into lines. Then we did a kind of freeze frame tableau, that may or may not include one of the lines from the passage. Each person in the group did their own thing, and when we put it together, there was some form of continuity. When we were done, we had a little scene where I was having an argument with one of my scene partners, and the other was trying to mediate. All from that one passage.

I'm not sure why it jumped into my head today, but it reminded me how much I enjoy acting.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Peepers and Me

Happy Monday, wonderful blog readers! I hope everyone had a terrific weekend!

Saturday was spent at a friend's bridal shower. I would have rather gone to the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival. The fact that I detest weddings and all the lovey-dovey things that go with them aside, it's hard to be excited about this wedding. They've been dating for 6 years and cohabitating for at least half of that, so the only thing that's really changing is her last name. And then there's the small point that this person whom I've known for nearly 17 years is almost totally unknown to me now.

There's nothing to be sad about here, really. People grow in different ways and move on to different things and that's just the way it is. Her life is moving forward, and it's going great for her, and it seems she's getting what she wants out of life. I am happy that things are working out for her, but I would have rather spent my Saturday doing something I enjoy, instead of suffering through something I didn't. But I do support her and I am happy for her and that is why I went.

The better part of Sunday was spent with Peepers. That's not as strange as it sounds! Peepers is a very pretty cream-colored horse, who was very tolerant of me and my total lack of experience while riding her. As a 5 month belated birthday present, my friend Fox took me riding. It's something both of us have wanted to do but never had the opportunity. I didn't control my horse very well (she followed too closely) but she didn't need a lot of direction either. Peepers wanted to be at the front of the line, and took all the little shortcuts in the path she could to get there. We ended up right behind the guide. This benefited me since I had advanced warning for when we were going to move a little faster. But, that also meant that Fox and his horse Bonanza had to work to catch up to us (and Bonanza had other ideas about that). Maybe next time we can take the trail together.

It was great fun anyway. Even though I'm terribly sore today, I can't wait to do it again. Maybe I can convince my mother to not go kayaking once a month. Maybe....