Blog: April 2021

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.


After the first vaccine dose, my arm was sore and I was a bit tired that day, but that was it.

This second dose is kicking my butt. I got it Thursday, and my arm is still sore and I'm still feeling tired and a little fuzzy-brained. Fortunately no other symptoms, but I do hope the ones I have abate soon! (Friday was not one of my more productive days at work.)

Weird thing on Thursday: after giving me the shot (which hurt more than the first one), the person commented that my skin was really tight. I said "you saw me relax my arm as instructed, yes?". Yes, I did. She was commenting on my skin, not my muscles. I've never heard of that before. She wondered if it was because it was pretty cold that day. Shrug? (I don't know if that accounts for the extra pain.) I was deliberately not looking, so it's not like I saw the needle coming and had an instinctive reaction.

Stowaway (Netflix): meh

The premise of Stowaway, a new movie from Netflix, as shown in the teasers: a crew of three leaves for a two-year mission to Mars, and after departure discover an injured worker from the launch pad onboard -- not really a stowaway in that he didn't plan for this, but there he is. But the safety margins don't account for an extra person.

I immediately thought of "The Cold Equations", a classic SF short story. It seemed clear that there could not be a happy ending, but I was curious which of the several possible outcomes we'd get. IMO they chose the wrong one.

Spoilers below. Read more…


Friday morning the Pennsic staff announced that Pennsic 49, postponed from last year, would be postponed again to next year. This did not surprise me; I figured a 50-50 chance this year was optimistic, given the uncertainties involved. Our camp had already been discussing the possibility of holding "Little Pennsic"; one person has enough land for our 25 or so vaccinated people to camp for a week.

A few hours later, Cooper's Lake Campground announced that they would be holding "Armistice" during the Pennsic timeslot, and that they need this event to succeed or they might not be around in 2022. As a business that relies on events -- except for this year, they no longer host plain old camping, only large events -- they are certainly hurting, but there was something about the language that felt off-putting to me. (More on that in a few paragraphs.)

The event announcement has the basic information: not an SCA event but designed to resemble Pennsic in most ways. No battles, but groups can "check out" list fields or archery ranges for their own use (and presumably at their own liability). Tents will be available for classes. Merchants are welcome. There will be some semblance of "land grab" for camping spots. You can register now (prices are higher than Pennsic). But they don't yet say anything about pandemic-related restrictions, like whether vaccines will be required and whether, even with vaccines, masks will be required. They'll follow state guidelines but, in April, nobody knows what those will be in July/August. That makes it hard for people to commit.

Pennsic has, over the last several years, felt more and more like a Cooper's Lake event and less and less like one controlled by the SCA, so in a way this is a natural step in the evolution of the event. For most events, the SCA rents space and is responsible for running the event; with Pennsic, Cooper's Lake has much more control, particularly over the financial aspects of the event. It's kind of a weird hybrid.

Pennsic has been at Cooper's Lake for about 45 years. The original Coopers (and Wilvers), who were friends of the SCA and shared its values, are gone. A new generation is running the campground now. They don't have that history and they don't share those values, so it's not surprising that they run things differently. The old Coopers could have said "hey folks, we're in trouble" and help would have flooded in from their friends in the SCA. The new Coopers have not maintained that close relationship, focusing on the business over the people (sometimes at the expense of the people), so it's hard to predict what will happen now. I think this is why I react to their plea the way I do; they moved from personal relationships to a business model, which is a valid decision for them to make, but this is the kind of appeal one makes with personal relationships. It feels out of place, given the changes in direction.

I suspect that when (if) Pennsic returns in 2022, the SCA will own less of it than it did in 2019. Only time will tell what Pennsic will look like in a few more years.

In comments somebody asked whether it's feasible to move the event. I wrote: Read more…

True but not helpful

Oh, Credit Karma, who writes your copy (or programs your algorithms)?

Your hard work this year has really paid off, and we want to remind you how far you've come.

(Um, I have? Also, this sure sounds like "you were having trouble and you're better now, attagirl!. I feel patronized.)

About a year ago your TransUnion score was X.

Check in now to see your updated (and uplifted) score, and keep up the awesome work.

"X" sounds about right, actually. Curious, I took a look. Why yes, my score has gone up! It is now X+1.

Uh, thanks?

(Fluctuations of a few points are completely normal. I expect to take a slight ding this month because we paid for something substantial online with the joint credit card. It'll come back next month when we pay that bill. You can't always write a check, but any use of your credit card affects your score at least a little.)

Waste not, want not

A friend is recovering from surgery, so the gang organized a meal rotation. Our first day is tomorrow, to cover meals for a couple days. Our friend is a foodie, so we made something nice, which took a lot longer than we thought from reading the recipe. (James Beard's salmon tart. It started yesterday, because the dough wants to be refrigerated overnight, but most of the work was today, including rolling out a very stiff crust.)

We doubled the recipe, to make one for ourselves as well, which we had (part of) for dinner. The salmon is poached in wine, which left us about half a bottle. By definition, the wine you cooked dinner in goes with dinner, so that worked out. (Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink.)

The recipe also called for egg yolks, which left me with a bunch of whites. I know exactly one thing to do with a bowl full of egg whites.

And that is how I came to be making meringue cookies after 9PM. If they're any good, our friend might get some dessert. Goofy-looking dessert, because I don't do this a lot and shaping meringues using a zipper bag with a corner cut off is...imprecise. But it's the taste that counts.