i_was_like_this_once: (fire and advance)
[personal profile] i_was_like_this_once


I've been busy.

***


Right now I'm at home in Rexford, at my old desk, in my old chair, listening to my old cat complain out on the patio. I love the difference between my two environments; there's nothing like an excess of one to make you miss the other. Currently I am missing green things and fresh air; I've absorbed a lot over this weekend and just want more more more. I've been in every state in New England since Friday (with the exception of Rhode Island, but I was there in April anyway), and haven't seen many buildings over six stories. It's a beautiful thing to see the sky ringed with trees and not concrete. And hearing the spring peepers at night. As the Poet once said, "I miss those little froggy motherfuckers."

***


It's pointless to go into details of the past two months; I can't possibly remember them all, and people skim over long entries. As usual, most memories come from scanning over the large galleries of pictures. My camera and I are celebrating our first anniversary today, and it has been quite a busy year for us. The counter is over 5,000 pictures taken since last May; when I upload the shots from this weekend we'll probably break 5,200. An enormous increase in picture volume counters an enormous decrease in writing.

Let's see where I've been.

***


First of all: in and out of the theater. Someone upstairs decided that I should become a fairly prolific sound designer, despite having never taken a class in design, sound engineering, or copyright law. I've done three off-off Broadway shows as of press time, getting professional reviews for each, and they've all been positive. The first two were for Living Image Arts (interested parties may be interested to know that I'm responsible for all photos but one on the above website; design is by Tim Spears, a friend from LAMDA), the latter was under the auspices of Jesse's "Theater of the Expendable," written by Neal Zupancic, lights by Wilburn, and directed by Corinne. The upshot is that people I don't know are asking my friends about me and if I'm good to work with; whereas I keep waiting for someone to start screaming at me for using their material in shows. So far I haven't gotten in trouble, and all the inquiries, while flattering, haven't resulted in millions of dollars in extra income. So I'm kinda glad to be done with that for a while.

***


You probably would prefer to see pictures than read a bunch of words, right? Okay. I don't much feel like writing. Even dear водка ain't helping. Look! Pictures! See the pretty colors?






Ambrose Burnside lived in this house.


They know how to name their restaurants.


Always time for smoothies and newspapers.


BROWN COLLEGE NINJAS.


Sneaky bears.




***




You get some words with this one, mostly because we were doing Confederate during the early Valley campaign and were not allowed to bring packs; hence the camera spent most of this awesome weekend sitting in the car. This event is the PSL's baby, and since I was riding over with the Pridgeons, I got to help with the setup. They wanted to do an issue of rations while there, so we stopped in Sharpsburg on the way over and loaded 250 loaves of bread into the back of the rental pickup truck. The drive took us through some lovely scenery and flyspeck towns, like Headwater, VA, which is literally six houses, a church, a general store, and a public telephone booth. McDowell itself only has a few hundred people, and I believe the entire county has less than five thousand people living in it. Pretty to visit, but Sean and I agreed that we'd shoot ourselves if we had to live there.


Sean surveys the Shenandoah Valley.


Real original Confederate trenches!


We spent Friday getting camp set up and building a bridge across the river. From scratch, with a few planks left over from several years ago, and all with period hand tools. Imagine, if you will, Your Humble Narrator swinging an axe and felling a tree, then while maneuvering said tree into the river, losing control of one end and having it swing around and catch him across the shins, sending him headfirst into water that was just barely above freezing. Imagine his chagrin at not packing his spare pair of drawers or a spare shirt! Envision the dire language he may or may not have used during his soaking! This was only topped by Aus splitting a log and having a bat fly out to dive-bomb him, or possibly at our suddenly vitriolic hatred for the bastards strolling past and watching four of us struggle at what should have been a company-sized job. We dried off as best we could and went to visit the sutlers, where we ran into a number of good friends on the Federal side, then repaired back to our campfire to shiver away the short night.

Revellie caught us far too early, as it always does, and Sean, Aus, and I took too long on our morning constitutional to the smashtowers. Rations had been issued while we were gone, including a great deal of salt pork, some carrots, and sweet potatoes. We cooked hurriedly, were chastised for missing company formation, and ran off to help with bridge duty again. Sean and I managed to get detailed teaching two FNGs who had never handled a musket before on the finer points of not blowing themselves up; later we led spectator tours and Q&A sessions around the Confederate camp - much better than struggling in the water again. Our crowning achievement was the capture of a "Federal spy" - an 11 year old in a blue kepi - I tied him to a tree while Skip questioned him. When asked who his President was, he thought for a minute, and said "Bush?" "Wrong," said I, pulling back the hammer on my musket. His face melted, his sisters kept chanting "Shoot him!" and his parents alternately shook with laughter and took pictures with which to tease him for years. The kid couldn't answer even the most basic questions (he didn't know who Lincoln was) so I hobbled him with the rope and made him stack our firewood before untying him with the admonition to work harder at history in school. He'll never wear that blue hat again.

Shortly after that, we were called up for battalion drill, and then the Saturday fight. Sean and I, being pioneers, carried our axes with us. This fight featured several intense moments. The sight of twenty-odd guys taking a simultaneous canister hit is fucking scary, even if they're just pretending - and when you're in the next platoon heading around into the mouth of that cannon, it's even worse. The only thing that can fuck you up more is to have a battalion of Federal infantry appear from behind the crest of the hill and slam into your flank - which is exactly what happened. I took off running. After rejoining the formation and looting the artillerists camp, we faced off with the Federals along a steep hill, with the Confederates at the top and the Federals at the base. We shot at each other for a little while, then our officers gave us the order to advance. "Holy shit!" we cried, "you cannot be serious!" They were. Down we went, picking our way very carefully. I had had enough by the time the Federals volleyed into us, and so took a hit - and wound up careening ass over tip all the way down the hill. I think I went a good 45-50 feet down a 70 degree incline, off trees and over rocks, with musket, hat, and axe flying around. I hit the bottom pretty hard, amazed that I hadn't broken anything, and lay still. The Federals counterattacked, and some of theirs that fell near me asked if I was alright, and then started gushing over how amazing a hit that had been. After the fight, John Pagano stopped his unit, pointed to me, and said "That was a fucking AMAZING hit," which was followed by a chorus of "hell yeah!" from the group. I heard about that hit for the rest of the weekend, and still have a scar on my leg from the experience.

We "captured" the Federal tents in town (totally correct, too - the Confederates drove the Feds out of McDowell and promptly appropriated their canvas), which was extremely fortuitous as it decided to pour that night. We laughed at the Feds, stuck out in out old camp, with no cover except for the trees, and snuggled down into our hay, totally content. It was the first event I've ever been to where I slept in a tent, and I can see why 'streamers like them so much.


Dave Pridgeon pursues a small child (or as he calls them, "Tasty Morsels").


Brad Wyand has been entertaining these children with the contents of his cup; at last his patience begins to wear thin.


Sunday's morning tactical was pretty cool; we hiked up a mountain following the original path of the Confederate army, but were a bit late and got bounced by the Feds as soon as we crested the ridge. We slugged it out for a while, and there was a bit of bad business with rammers being drawn on the field, but the end moment made up for it - we formed up and assaulted their breastworks, and as we gave the Rebel Yell and rushed forward, our First Sergeant started singing a hymn. He's a big guy, and his voice carried all along the line; and I gotta say it really gave me chills. Post-skirmish, we had to dismantle our lovingly built bridge and zip back to Maryland. An abrupt end to an amazing weekend. I love reenacting with the PSL. I always have a great time and get to do all kinds of cool stuff.


Somehow, someone thought it'd be a good idea to make Wiz an officer.


Doofus.


Our bridge after most of it had been dismantled; you can still see how far we had to stretch that thing.




Heavy sumbitch.


This is George. And officer and a gentleman at the age of 12. McDowell was his first proper event.


Pioneer Sean. In his underdrawers.


The Bridge Crew. Captain Mac, seated at left, is the main engineer of this feat. Obviously, the other one is Sean. I don't remember who the two standing guys are.


Minstrel Dave!


Minstrel Sean!

***


While at the event, my grandmother, Joan Crawford Roecker, passed away. She was almost 83, had terrible Alzheimer's, and suffered a stroke two weeks earlier. Fortunately, my dad (she was his mom) managed to get down to Texas to see her before she died. She wasn't able to speak, but seemed to recognize him and his brother. We knew it was coming for some time, but it was still an unwelcome message to get. I'm glad I had a good weekend prior to receiving the news, and I'm glad that my dad was with her when she went. She led a good life, and thankfully wasn't in any pain. She just went to sleep and didn't wake up. We all miss her.

***




Shelter Shock is Sean's band. They're pretty fucking sweet, and are hopefully playing their first show soon. Know them and love them.


Sean, rocking hard.


Punk rock fury.


Sean and Jake.


"We are fueled by Satan / Yes, we're fueled by Satan."


Joe on bass.


Learning a new song.


Rehearsing in the basement.






Advert for Natty Boh.


Intense Drum Face.






***


After the weekend with Sean, I decided enough was enough and put in my two weeks notice at Starbucks. It was making me constantly miserable, and as they say in American History X, "life's too short to be pissed off all the time." Of course, as soon as I decided to quit, I magically managed to hold my own at the bar and sass back at my assistant manager. Two weeks of competence were not enough to make up for the previous months, though. Ellen told me that anytime I wanted my job back I could have it, so if I get desperate I have an opening. However, it will be a very cold day in Hades before we go that route. This does mean that I'm back in the guild of the unemployed, but this time I have some prospects and I know how to go about finding a job, so I'm less concerned.

***




I did another music video with Allie and David, though this time I was behind the camera. Or cameras. These energetic young things are the Montreal-based band The Agonist; they've just been signed to Century Media, and are all younger than me. They rock hard and are very nice people to boot. We were recording the video for "Business Suits and Combat Boots" which you can hear on their Myspace page. I'm pretty proud of this set of pictures, and with any luck they'll be used by the band for publicity and sponsoring purposes. They're on a big tour this summer, and you should try to catch them. Because they rock. And because Alissa is holy shit hot.


Chris Kells in a rare moment of stillness.


Danny Marino rocks the heavens.


Simon McKay and his hair rock your face.





































































***


This weekend was big, and deserves a post in and of itself. Or perhaps I should say when the pictures are up. I've been at this for more than two hours, and that's quite enough. Go forth and multiply.
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