Thursday, December 18, 2003
( 1:32 PM ) by David Barker
Good Fellowship! Yee-haw! (Elvish for 'yippee!)
Well, yesterday was the last day of the Gathering of the Fellowship, the first of a hoped-for biennial celebration of Tolkien's various works, their admirers (and yer basic fans), and those inspired by them. This year was focused on the release of the third and last of Peter Jackson's films based on The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King (of which I saw the first show at the Sheppard Grande cinema at midnight on Tuesday, started late, didn't finish until 3:35am Wednesday; still counts! Still rocked!).
My membership was a Christmas gift from good friends and fine human beings, Luisa Perrella and Reid Ellis (see links to the right). I can't rave enough about the quality of the event. Of course there were problems, one particular one really rotted my socks: the masquerade contest before the banquet at Medieval Times was held on the same floor level as the spectators, hence nobody at the back could see any contestants but the seven foot tall Ent. More to the point, I couldn't see any contestants but the seven foot tall Ent.
I spent the second day (of the three day event) with Luisa's thirteen year old son Michael. We went to a very interesting (if somewhat less rich than advertised) seminar on writing the tengwar, the elvish script. And if you don't know what that is and don't care, than go away. Michael is a fairly recent convert to LOTR (recent in my terms, not his) and it was neat to see how interested he was in getting the basic idea of the tengwar. We went to the masquerade and banquet together and had lots of fun. One really nice touch was the fact that they rewrote the script for the show so that instead of medieval Europe, we were in the early Fourth Age at the court of King Eomer of Rohan, and the the contestants were champions from across Middle Earth.
I will add that my original membership did not include the banquet. Luisa had bought herself a banquet ticket (no full membership because it was all during working hours for regular office types...), but for some reason, decided she couldn't go, so I got her ticket. Even though I got to go on her ticket, and it was a lot of fun, I am so sorry she missed it.
On the last day there were several interesting sessions but I went to a even more interesting session on designing your own costume armour using as your sources such things as the action figures, pix off the web or freeze-frames of scenes from DVDs of the movies...
Here's the blurb for that session from the website. "In this hands on armor building workshop, experienced costumers will coordinate groups of 8-12 participants in the creation of a full set of armor from a LOTR costume. They will have three hours and use only simple materials such as posterboard, duct tape and markers..."
The experienced costumers had brought their own home-made versions of Sauron's armour, Haldir at Helm's Deep (a woman, FYI), and Elrond at whatever the name of the battle was where the Ring was lost. The Sauron armour was what made me want to go to this session in the first place. I was in the Vendors' Room when I heard this clanking. I turned around and saw this guy walk in all spikey and silver and mean looking, except that he was wearing a Santa hat. (As Michael said with a deep evil sounding voice, when I told him, "I am the bringer of doom. And presents.") This guy was Toby Markham (www.sithcamaro.com, gotta love that domain name, and if you surf his pages you'll see what he means by it...). The costume blew my mind. Most of it was aluminum, with the spikes made of some plastic plastic (sic) stuff that these kind of people use.
I didn't learn a lot, but I learned enough to know that I might get into doing that sort of thing. The session was a great end to the con and I had a great time.
Next time is hoped to be in 2005, again here in Toronto, but maybe after that in New Zealand or even Oxford.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
( 11:22 AM ) by David Barker
This Is Cool! Check It Out!
Tolerance dot org is a very cool anti-racism/anti-bigotry project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Check out the "Do Something" column on the right.
This story is great!
An excerpt: "In Boyertown, Pennsylvania, Project Lemonade so irritated the Ku Klux Klan that the group threatened to sue organizers for raising money "on our name." Money raised went for library books on black history."
Read the whole story to see what pissed off the Klan!
Monday, December 01, 2003
( 10:53 AM ) by David Barker
Kids Today! Kids Tomorrow.
Well, yesterday I attended a nice little meet-the-baby party for Jamie Chew, the wee fella whose arrival was recently blogged about here.
I love kids. I think I get along with kids. I will probably never have kids of my own, and that might be a good thing, all things considered.
Some of my friends have children of different ages, and I like them all. Some are older now, approaching adulthood, some are younger, but smart as a buggy-whip and fun to hang around with.
Jamie is the teeniest little tiny baby I've seen in a long time. Megan Kesner was tiny the first time I saw her, but older than Jamie. Now Megan, just over two, is walking and talking (quite articulate when she wants to be) and has the most charming smile I've seen in a long time.
Ronnie Ellis (not there yesterday) was about a year old when I first met him, and he was afraid to shake my hand. Now I'm having philosophical discussions with him, a recent one about the propriety of deliberate flatulence in social situations. (I told him I'd sit on his head and fart if he did it again...pace Luisa and Reid.) His brother, Michael Cecutti, (also not there) is thirteen and growing up fast. This past Hallowe'en he decided he was too old for it, which is fine and his decision, but quite a step too.
Little Jamie has big eyes and tiny fingernails and seems quite alert and curious. I only heard him fuss maybe twice in the few hours I was at his parents' home.
There were quite a few kids there, all of whom were quite well behaved, even if their parents had to chide them every now and then.
It was a good day.