Thursday, March 16, 2006

State of the Russ Address, March 16

Okay, a general-purpose personal update:

1. Felt-making continues to progress. I am trying to figure out how to keep the felt as dense as it is when fully wet, and short of building a large press, have resorted to taking the bamboo mat when wet-rolled and sticking it in front of a fan in the garage. Kind of like storing my own Pod People, only likely to be fluffier.

2. All materials are on-hand to start making a vest and skirt for the Bunny out of horsehide. Don't recall whether she prefers the Burgundy, or the Oxblood. But, on the other hand, I've finally figured out how collars work(tm). It's once again something that's very simple once you can bridge the divide between seeing something in three dimensions, and arriving at a two-dimensional pattern for it.

3. I have a dilemma. No, I'm not a rabbi, with the pork loin on sale this Friday. Rather, it's supposed to rain this weekend. That's good, and with the peach and plum trees in bloom, we're glad to have anything to relieve the drought. On the other hand, I have purchased an Arrow "yard-saver" shed I'd like to assemble on the concrete slab in my side yard, so I can get the yard tools out of my garage and put that into some semblance of order. I intend to thoroughly re-organize that sucker, get the power tools set up, and still be able to pull the Jeep into the garage at night.

4. Last weekend, on the other hand, we set up a fantatic, Party-Party scene.. but I forgot a previous promise I made, and had to leave the party early, including stranding The Bunny with only hope of a ride home (it's close, so that was more a guilt thing than a real prospect of stranded-ness), so I could go up to Oklahoma and be a fighter's second in a cage match. THAT was weird: if I get off my ass, you'll see it soon on Sciolist. Said fighter owes me a big one.

5. The job is still untenable, as it is now officially Bank of America's policy that administrative assistants are not entitled to performance reviews. Yes, folks, we're now officially second-class employees. Rather galling, considering that I've re-engineered this job to the extent that I could now literally replace myself with a part-timer without inconveniencing the unit. So, I will either put up with it for a while while re-enrolling in feldenkrais training (contingent on finding crash space in Colorado, which should be do-able), or else getting a teaching gig. There's a job open nearby in Dallas, but I can't get their HR to return any calls, or the actual school's switchboard to even pick up the phone. This score is fairly frustrating.

6. On the other hand, my article on Crecy is not only accepted, but got me back an enthusiastic review, from a pair of guys whose publishing career has revolved around putting out work on the Hundred Years War. My work is mentioned in an equal place with the pros, as "Crecy finally makes sense." Actually, that's not what they said... they said "finally, the events at the Battle of Crecy seem to be rationally explicable." Because, well, they're professional medieval-nerds. Be that as it may, this is the second paper I've kicked out in the past couple of years, and my emphasis on using experimental archaeology to create a "worm's-eye view" approach to medieval milhist seems to be a starter. Now all I have to do is the destructive testing with The Machine, and start paper number three, in which I will make obscenely far-reaching comments on the role of medieval armor.

7. The credit card is paid off. Foundation payments left to go, and then we are almost out of non-mortgage consumer debt. Which is good, because one of the doors has started sticking, and if that keeps up, it may be time for more foundation work. Oh well, eventually the whole house will be done...

8. The yard is looking fantastic, and we're waiting for the grapes that I put in to wake up. I'm paranoid about grapes: I always think they've died on me... and the Fig hasn't woken up at all yet... but it may just be too early. If it's croaked, we'll just put in more Rose Monsters.

9. No bun in the oven, but we're working on it.

10. Was asked whether I wanted to be in the NCAA office pool, and realized that I don't have the foggiest clue how March Madness actually works, and who's got a prayer of winning... all my sports experience tends to be on the playing side, rather than spectating. (Though don't ask me about my lay-up, it's been years and years -- and my chances at "horse" are no better than even.)

I'm sure there's something I've forgotten, but I couldn't tell you what it is... since I've forgotten it...

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