Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Feast 2: Teusday

After only a little while of wandering around the CC (Confusing Campus), Paul and Andrew and Susan and I found our apartment. We walked in, and were seriously floored. The place had a bottom floor with a spacious living room, cable TV, a better kitchen than either of our families had, a bedroom and a passable bathroom/shower. It also had an upstairs with three more bedrroms! The on I was assigned even had two beds (I imagined a Harpo-ish skit, where I arranged one bed and then went to sleep on the other). We think we had our odd male/female ratio to thank for this, as these were probably the most sensible rooms for a mother with three children. ;-)

After settling in a bit, and taking showers to wash off what was for me twenty-seven hours' worth of car/bus riding, we set out in search of some food, any food. In our wanderings (they were pretty much random at this point) we ran across Aaron, Heidi, and Tarja. We did a bit of breif introducing, then Aaron directed us toward a hope of food. We ended up in Worner. I bought and ate a fruit cup; I thought I wasn't very hungry, but I think I had a touch of altitude sickness.

At Worner, we ran into Heidi and Aaron and Tarja again, as well as Agent Delta. The group of us stood around talking for a while. Aaron assigned Paul to kill me with his big giant glass Sobe bottle (he FAILED, thank you very very much). After a while, some people had to go off to choir practice. Those of us with bad singing voices and/or little courage wandered around Worner, still talking. Then we went to chapel.

As Rachel E said later that day, "It's worth coming just for Divine Service." And it was. The service was traditional, confessional; beautifully done. The choir sounded amazing (Even with Aaron in it ;-)), the preaching was dead-on, the liturgy was what liturgy is supposed to be; yet none of it glorified the people involved. All the praise, the ceremony, the teaching, and of course the Lord's Supper, was about God coming to us through His Word and Sacraments. I never cry in church. I don't know why, I just don't. But I very nearly did at this service.

After church I just barely kept up with Paul as he threaded through the crowd at breakneck speed, taking secret passageways through the gym building to be front and center for Rev. Bender's Catechism session. So yes, if you saw a brown-haired kid acting goofy because the camera on Bender included him in its shot, that was Paul. :-D

Bender was great. He's a great speaker and a great teacher, and, as usual with HT speakers, both easy to follow and challenging.

After that, Paul and I hung around outside Worner, waiting for our time to go to supper. We, ahem, fenced (using our conference books) and acted generally insane and somewhat hyper. Several groups approached, looked at us breifly, and left in a hurry. :-D

We went in to supper, in the cafeteria. The cafeteria food, in general, was good, if not great. Sometimes I thought it made me sick when I looked at it, but I think this was again because of slight altitude sickness making me not want to eat. Midway through the meal we realized we didn;t know which sectionals we were going to, so discussion began in earnest. Aaron and I ended up deciding to attend "Ask the Pastor" together. Little did we know what we were in for.

It was held in Olin, which was apparently the one building Aaron did not know the location of, even after three weeks on-campus previously. So we frantically studied the big map outside Worner, and our maps, and determined a general heading. Aaron, his brother Nathan and I set off. We crossed the street and were heading for a likely building when Aaron looked at a passing group and recognition creased his face.

Aaron: I see a Rachel! Wait, two Rachels.


*Rachels look up, startled*

*Ethan, Aaron and Rachel E and Rachel D meet and talk.*

Aaron: Llamas taste good.

Rachel E: They do! I've tasted some!

Aaron: *A rare moment of shocked silence*

Rachel E: I hug all MHers! *She hugs all MHers present*

*The two groups are forced, due to time constraints, to part*

The three of us coninued toward the building we were heading for. Entering, we found it empty and silent. Another study of the map gave us a new heading, and finally we found a building labeled Olin. No, two buildings labeled Olin, and no indication of which one we wanted. We went all through one, then the other, to no avail. Returning to the first, I suddenly heard a voice. Following said voice, we came to a door seemingly placed so as to fool outsiders to its existence. Though we arrived ten minutes late, the session was just starting. It was good, I was able to ask a couple questions I would have gone to other sessions to learn about, thus helping narrow down my choices for some other sessions (from, say, four to three).

Then we went to Plenary Session. Paul and I later found we liked to gipe about these sessions, as the speaker was more of a stand-up comic and not so challenging. But they were fun times to chill with a bunch of MHers. (Wow, did I just use the word 'chill'? Scary.)

Then came my favorite sectional, Pr. Borghardt's "The Law, the Gospel, and What to do With the Rest of My Life." I'm not sure whether this was because of Pr. B's hilarious style, his great teaching, or the fact that many/most of the MHers attended this one, so (as Heidi says) "We had our own seating section." Probably all three. :-D

Next was evening prayer (and I would like to remark here that even the HT 'short' services are very well-done).

Then a bunch of us rendezvoused and headed over to Worner and began playing a card game which Heidi brought/taught. I quite liked it, but too many people were tired and left (I couldn't exactly fathom this. I mean, I was quite tired at this point, but I knew my body wouldn't sleep, ESPECIALLY knowing that there were MHers roaming around loose). We switched games, and began playing slaps, Egyptian rat trap, Egyptian rat screw, and rat slap (all at the same time). ;-) Btw, Aaron's class ring is a weapon. I don't care what anybody says.

After a while it was time for Compline. We attempted to figure out which building we were supposed to go to. We didn't know when we left Worner, but finally figured out where some of us were supposed to be, and all decided to go there.

(I beleive it was determined much later that we were all in the proper place save Aaron, who technically should have been at Loomis, which had its own compline. Ah well. N trespassed, as usual. :-D)

After saying goodnight, I wandered around a while until I found my dorm (I swear, there were three or four buildings that looked EXACTLY the same, and mine was one of them.)

Upon arriving, pretty much everybody I stayed with went straight to bed. I did too, but couldn't sleep. I turned on the clock-radio in my room, and found a station playing those really old radio dramas with lines like:

"Detective, what are you feeling?"
"Well, I've got an expression of shock and concern on my face, what do you think?"

Thus ended Teusday (at one o'clock Wednesday).

(EDIT: Card games at Worner, not Olin. Thanks alot, Aaron. ;-))

The Feast 1: Getting There

I have decided I must write down my Feast memories somewhere, and this seems as good a place as any. Perhaps I was inspired by outside sources (yes I'm a copycat Heidi, sue me :D). This is mainly for my own memories, people don't have to read/comment unless they want to. And yes, unlike certain other people *coughAaroncough* I WILL be finishing this, whic means there will be four or five Feast posts.

It started on Monday morning, my dad and I arose before six and got in the car to drive two hours to join Paul, Andrew, and Susan for the trip south to meet our bus. The trip took about four hours, but it didn't seem that long; mainly because the conversation was entertaining. It was the usual fare; started off with talk of Evolution vs. Creationism, and conjecture as to why scientists will support a theory they know to be wrong; it evolved into talk of the 'Taking Over the World' thread that had been raging on MH lately, and other various wars/factions associated with MH/HT. Paul put forth his theory that the wars against Peeps and Olives were merely peices of Aaron's ultimate plan to take over the world; ie, we'll take out Peeps and Olives, then move onto the rest of the factions.

It was here that I came up with the idea that in a few years you'll be able to go to the Military History section of a bookstore and find a book entitled "MouthHouse Wars," and that at the center will be a huge fold-out diagram of everybody associated with these wars, and what factions they belong to; and that, if you work everything out, everybody probably should have both killed and supported everybody else at least twice. Paul showed me a sheaf of his comics; some of them were quite good.

We arrived in Altamont, IL, and drove around those ridiculous flat IL roads looking for the church where we were to meet the bus. We found it, stopped at the church for homemade ice-cream, before loading up and setting out on the seventeen-hour ride to CO Springs, CO.

The ride went fairly well; we watched stupid movies and talked. Most of the Altamont kids were jock-ish and kind of ignored us; but we talked to a couple of the more geek- (read: Star Wars) inclined kids.

Memorable moments: Paul created a new superhero, Meta-Chap. His power? He can chap people's lips. He and I sort of collaborated on a comic featuring him:

Evil Bad Guy: HaHA, Meta-Chap, now you are captured, and my evil minions will take over the world, and...

Meta-Chap: I have chapped your lips! Your evil monologue is cut short!

EBG: *Gestures to minions* Just kill him.

M-C: *Dies.*

Um, passing through Kansas (or maybe we were in CO by then) in the evening, we saw a stealth bomber flying pretty low. (Or was it a fighter? I keep forgettting. The military-geek kid explained it to us, and I still forget.) Anyway, 'twas cool. Paul took a picture of it, but only as it was fading. As I remarked then and Aaron would remark later on seeing it: "Well, it's either a Stealth Fighter or a smudge on the camera lense." I also came up with this dialogue:

"It's a picture of a stealth fighter."
"I don't see it."
"That's because it's a STEALTH fighter."

Also, while passing through Kansas, I could not help but notice the landscape, or lack thereof. That baby is FLAT. I remarked to someone, "I don't know what the Indians saw in this place." They said to imagine hordes of buffalo roaming the praire. Then I could see it; but still, you'd think that two of them eight hundred years ago might have a dialogue something like this:

Red Pony: You know, if you take away all the buffalo out here, what do you get?
High Horse: I dunno. Grass?
Red Pony: And what else?
High Horse: um... Grass? There's trees over there. No wait, that's also grass.
Red Pony: Yeah. Without the Buffalo, this place is pretty sad.
High Horse: So what do we do, move?
Red Pony: Maybe not now. Maybe we could wait till alot more people arrivve and shoot them all for us.
*High Horse and Red Pony stare at each other, and decide that the conversation never happened.*

(In case anyone's curious, I came up with this ON THE BUS. This, my children, is what fifteen hours on a bus will do to you.)

Sleep was a fitful thing that night; I'd doze off for a couple hours, wake up, read myself back to sleep, wake up again. I remember thinking that direct city lights are harsh, but are rather pretty when reflected panoramically in bus windows. however this thought came when I was half-asleep, so it should probably be ignored.

We arrived in Co Springs about four hours ahead of schedule, drove around a while, stopped at Wal-Mart for some stuff, then went to have breakfast at Perkins. I had what Susan called a "Heaping plate of meat and white flour," (pretty much their whole breakfast menu was variations on this).

Well, we drove down to CC and found the registration place. We were two hours early, but people were already registering. Susan went out for a quick scouting run, and almost immediately brought back reports of some weirdo in a purple toga. :P :D

Soon the bus dropped us near our rooms, and we had Arrived.

(Note for this and future Feast posts: if there is something essential I have left out, let me know. These posts may experience some slight editing. ;-))

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I just got back from the Isle of Skye
I'm not very big and I'm awfully shy
The lassies say as I go by
"Donald, where's your troosers?"

The wind blow high and the wind blow low
Down the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say "Hello,
Donald where's your troosers?"
-Donald, Where's Your Troosers?, Irish traditional

So yesterday, immediately after reassuring someone on AIM that I was not, in fact, avoiding them, I had to rush off (oh the irony! It almost killed me--but it failed, as always) to get in the car and drive with my family three hours to Milwaukee to go to Irish Fest.

On arrival, we met up with my Aunt Nancy (not a real aunt--my parents' good friend from college, Zeke and I call her aunt) and some of her friends. Nancy Is as much of an Irish music/culture freak as my brother and I.

We immediately went to a show by the Kottars, a great traditional Celtic group from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. They did some great jigs and reels, but they also had some really strong ballads and other songs. At one point they did a song called "I'm Ready for the Storm," and the sun cam out. One of them pointed this out, and another said "Aye, reverse psychology."

Then we went to see Malachy McCourt (brother of Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes). Malachy is a great comic/storyteller. He told one story about a friend of his who was very quick on his feet. "And one day, Danny got on the train. And there were no seats left except one, and an Englishman had his dog in it. So the conductor says, 'This man's been working all day, and he's hot and tired, and could he have a seat?'

"So the Englishman moves his dog, and says, ' A sad day it is when a dog must move for an Irishman.' And ol' Danny sits, and he says, 'That's quite a nice dog you got there, what kind is it?' And the Enlgishman, not givin' 'im an inch, says, 'He's half Irishman, and half baboon.' And so Danny says, 'Well b'jasus, he's related to both of us!'"

After that, we got some good Irish cofee and sat and talked a little while. My brother and I went off to do a little shopping, got some candy at the Irish candy stall (I swear the candy they have in Ireland and England is a hundred times better than what you can get over here). My brother, who was wearing his Got Kilt? shirt, and his kilt, got some comments, while I had a couple people look at my shirt and go, "The same to you!" (I was wearing my shirt that says "POG MO THOIN", Irish for Kiss My "Boxers".)

An aside here, because I have no better place to put it: the crowds at Irishfest are always interesting. You have the yuppies who go either because they think Irish-ness is just so cool, or because it's something to do, or because they go to all the cultural things, some combination thereof. Then there are the drunks, who hang around Irishfest because a) that's where all the beer is, or b) because they love Irish music, and that's where all the beer is. Then there are the, er, geeks, the types who love Irish music and culture, and go mainly for the music and cultural stuff. (Zeke and Nancy and I fit into this one.) There are other catgories I could talk about, but I won't for fear of rambling. ;)

We met back up with the adults breifly, before heading to the other side of the park. Our destination was a great CD booth that had seemingly all the greatest Celtic bands; I got a CD by Ashley MacIsaac that I had been looking for but previously been able to find for sale only in Canada; also Flogging Molly's latest, CD/DVD combo--the CD has live versions of some of their songs, that are faster and better than the versions already released.

We were right by the Celtic Rock stage, and got to see the last three or four songs by Young Dubliners. They're a pretty good band, as I knew already, and even better live.Then we got supper (typically unidentifiable Irish fare), and settled down by the Celtic Rock stage to wait for this band Zeke wanted to check out based on their name, Enter the Haggis. I thought the name was great, but expected them to be typical Celtic punk--Pogues knockoffs that weren't quite as good.

This was not the case.

They started out with a great fiddle riff, and added hard guitar chords, that sounded really cool without being obnoxious. They did a couple more sets of rocked-up jigs and reels, sounding like they took some cues from Wolfstone, but more ragged--they sounded more punky, while Wolfstone is more rock. Plus the pipes are different.

Next came what was probably my favorite thing all day: they did the best version I've ever heard of "Donald, Where's Your Troosers?" In the middle the piper told this long story about how last night he had partied a little too hard, and almost drove a van. But no, (he said) that would have been ("Seriously now, folks,") irrespnsible. So he did the responsible thing, and stole someone's bike. Then he thought the Milwaukee Police were after him, but it was really the fiddle player. "What seems to be the trouble, officer?" "Well, sir, you're not wearing any pants." (Kilt joke there, teehee). And in explanation, the piper starts singing the forst verse of "Donald, Where's your Troosers?" (see above).

So to cut it short ('cuz otherwise I'll go on all night), Enter the Haggis is awesome. Check them out if you get a chance.

After that, we went to Gaelic Storm and caught their last half-dozen songs. Then we wandered around for a while, trying to meet up with the others in the thronging crowd. We finally did, and it was time to go. I hated to leave, but was most glad I went. All in all, it was a bloody good day.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nowhere, Boys!

I have a quick announcement:

A new blog, ridiculous and set up by me (redundant, I know) has opened up shop. It is a place where literary characters can hang out and post their thoughts without the restriction of WRITERS telling them what to do. Check it out:

If you know a literary character who is dying for some self-expression, send me an e-mail and we'll see what we can do about it. I am here to help.

(Exit, pursued by a bear)