[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2011-08-11

The Mugs of August – Mummy mug from Universal Studios

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:48
Mummy mug from Universal Studios

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Back in 2009, my mother lived in California, and as far as I knew, always would. Susan and I went out to visit her and do the touristy thing in Hollywood. That was, I think, the most stressful trip we have ever had. It was my fault, really. I was seriously considering buying a Play-N-Trade franchise, and it was the only thing I wanted to talk about, and Susan was not too keen on the idea. I eventually decided it was a bad idea, too.

One of the places we visited was Universal Studios Hollywood (Pasadena, actually). That’s where this mug came from. It’s one of the Egyptian warrior mummies from the Brendan Frasier Mummy movies.

I actually don’t like this mug very much. I think it’s ugly. But it is distinctive, which is why I keep it around.

Tuesday, 2011-08-09

The Mugs of August – Hershey Park “Kisses” coffee mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 22:05
Hershey Park Kisses coffee mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

We got this mug while on a road trip to Niagra Falls. We stopped in DC to visit our friend Nathan (who has since moved to San Diego) and go to Six Flags. The next day we continued on to Hershey, PA, where we went to a cave and then to Hershey Park. The following day, we went to Hershey Park again, all day long. The day after that, we traveled to Niagra Falls (the Canadian side, which is nicer than the American side). We stayed at Niagra Falls for a few days before driving back home again.

Hershey Park was nice. Not as nice as Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, but still, pretty nice. Susan got this mug because she thought it looked “retro” and because it was filled with Hershey Kisses. It might not be obvious in the photograph, but the mug is an antique white color, almost cafe au lait. It’s one of the handful that we consider “her” mugs.

Sunday, 2011-08-07

The Mugs of August – Coffee cup from Switzerland

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:33
Coffee cup from Switzerland

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I used to work for a company called SAIC. Unlike most of my former employers, SAIC is still around, although it’s no longer an employee-owned company, which I think is too bad. My projects supported something called the Partnership for Peace, which is sort of like NATO Junior. I have been fortunate to have been involved with some truly worthwhile projects during my career, but I think the Partnership for Peace was one of the most worthwhile.

I visited ETH Zurich twice for the PfP project. On the first trip, Susan went with me, and that’s when we got this coffee mug. Zurich is an old city with some interesting history, but it’s not really a tourist destination. I am really glad we were able to go, though. We went to a few museums, and we ate fondue at a small restaurant. We also took a bus trip up into the Alps, which was spectacular.

Friday, 2011-08-05

The Mugs of August – Black faux marble coffee mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 09:58
Black faux marble coffee mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I bought this mug at a thrift store in Portsmouth, VA, which is where we used to live. I don’t have a fun story or any special memories associated with this mug. Despite that, it’s one of my favorite coffee mugs. It’s solid, reliable, and attractive, and I don’t have to worry too much about accidentally breaking it.

I am drinking coffee out of it right now.

Thursday, 2011-08-04

The Mugs of August – Haunted Mansion with Mickey

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 19:56
Haunted Mansion with Mickey

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

We bought this mug at Disneyland in 2009. We were in California visiting my mother, who no longer lives there. (My mother has always been a restless soul.) As luck would have it, it was the 40th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion, so we were able to get some cool coffee mugs commemorating the event. This is one of them.

The Haunted Mansion itself was rather disappointing. It had been re-dressed in the style of A Nightmare Before Christmas, basically ruining the ride. The fantastic “dancing ghosts” scene was completely ruined. Ah, well. We still have our memories of the first time we went, which was when I lived out there in the late 1980s, and Susan came out to visit me. She had dyed-black hair back then. I was so thoroughly smitten.

Sadly, the printing on this mug is water-soluble: what you see in the photo is the result after the cup was washed by hand, once. I was standing at the sink, washing it gently, and the ink was wiping right off. Very disappointing. I stopped washing it, dried it carefully, and we’ve not used it since.

Still, it was a very nice trip, and I’m glad we went. This was before the TSA introduced their “sexual assault” screening procedures: back then, the TSA screening was merely pointless (which it still is, of course). It will probably be the last trip by airplane we take unless the TSA eliminates their sexual assaults on airplane passengers. Frankly, I think the TSA should simply be eliminated. It accomplishes nothing.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Wednesday, 2011-08-03

The Mugs of August – Richmond Oktoberfest 2006

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 11:39
Richmond Oktoberfest 2006

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I bought this genuine imported German beer stein at the 2006 Richmond Oktoberfest. I was working at Circuit City at the time, which was my first on-site job in Richmond. However, the writing was on the wall at Circuit City (they went out of business not long after I left), and I left after six months for a “dream job” with a much smaller company (which also went out of business).

I was invited to the Richmond Oktoberfest by a fellow named Quinn Ramsey. Sharp guy, very cheerful. I’ve no idea where he is now, but I am sure he’s doing well, wherever he is.

Monday, 2011-08-01

The Mugs of August – Goofy

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 10:57

We have a lot of coffee cups. I generally get one as a souvenir from any trip we take. Not every trip (I didn’t get one in Mexico, but I did get a very nice wooden mask), but most trips.

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

This mug is Goofy. It came from Disneyworld in 1995. That was the first major vacation Susan and I took together. I was working for DOD at the time, and we got discount tickets for amusement park tickets through the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program. Three days at the Disney parks, and two at Universal Studios. We drove from Virginia to Florida (and back). That was before the TSA made airplane travel an exercise in sexual assault. We could have flown. We drove because it was cheaper than flying (back then — not sure if it still is), and so that we would have a car once we got there. That was the first trip that we listened to books on CD along the way. I remember James Spader reading a Dean Koontz book about a town with a coal fire underneath it.

Our cat Healthcliff had just died of renal failure, and we decided to put off getting another cat until we came back. That cat was Nikita, who is still with us (knock on wood).

I used this cup at work when I was at Joint Forces Command as a civilian contractor. I thought it helped to soften my image a bit and make me seem more approachable, which was the persona I wanted to project. I wanted people to know that I was friendly and willing to help them. And who’s friendlier or more helpful than Goofy?

Sunday, 2011-04-10

RavenCon 2011, Sunday

Filed under: Entertainment,Society,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:54

I had the strangest dream last night. I was teaching French at a Catholic school, but I was neither French nor Catholic. The students were nuns, and they weren’t paying any attention to me, just taking turns sitting on the desks and pushing each other around around the room.

RavenCon is over. Sunday is generally slow at cons, and today was no exception. Even so, I enjoyed the panels I sat in on. I don’t have any final thoughts, really. I think it went pretty well.

Favorite thing at RavenCon 2011 that had nothing to do with me: pretty young women in corsets. (Yeah, so sue me.)

RavenCon 2011, Saturday

Filed under: Entertainment,Society,Travel — bblackmoor @ 00:14

End of the day Saturday, and I think it’s gone pretty well. I was able to sit in on a few panels, and that was fun, because they were panels I thought up and I wanted to hear people talk about them. Superheroes and the law, for example. There was only one serious hiccup today, when an equipment delay caused a filk to run late, which caused the next filk to run late, which caused the next panel to run late…

This actually wasn’t a big deal, due to some quick thinking by the affected panelists, who came up with a feasible solution. I mean, yes, we had people hanging out in the hallway for 30 minutes, and the delays in the panels almost certainly made someone miss a panel or performance they wanted to see, but it could have been considerably worse.

Now, I made a point of putting nearly all of the presentations in one room, and all of the filk in another, hopefully to prevent this kind of situation. I think next year I will make an even greater effort to restrict all audiovisual programming to one room. The time it takes to break down and move the equipment is just too long. I’ll also move the filk related programming to a larger room next year. The room I was told to put the filk in was too small for the audiences.

Other than that, there were no major issues. People got to where they needed to be, when they needed to be there, and for the most part the equipment got there as well.

I am a trifle disappointed in the parties. That’s kind of a mean thing to say, because the parties I was able to find were held by very nice people and had a great selection of drinks and goodies. But still, there were only maybe 2.5 parties total this evening, and 1.5 of those shut down before midnight. RavenCon is just not a party con.

I had a weird experience when I decided to call it a night and head back to my room. The doorway to the hallway our room is on was blocked by eight or so teenage girls, sitting around playing cards. When I walked up, intended to step gingerly through them and on my way, one of them informed me that this area was off limits, and “girls only”.

“Well, my room is down that hall,” I said. “Do you mind if I go to it?”

“No, it’s not,” the girl assured me. I was not sure whether to be annoyed or amused. I had never encountered a situation quite like this, and wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. I was just baffled.

“This is the fourth floor,” another girl added in a haughty tone. I looked at the numbers on the nearby door, and son of a gun if she wasn’t right. Whoops.

“Oh, wow. I’m on the wrong floor,” I said. “Sorry, sorry.” And I sheepishly headed back to the elevator, wondering how I’d ended up on the fourth floor, despite my being almost completely sober.

Which just goes to show, teenage girls still have the ability to make me feel like an idiot. Some things never change.

Saturday, 2011-04-09

RavenCon 2011, Friday

Filed under: Entertainment,Society,Travel — bblackmoor @ 00:18
Star Crash

Friday night’s programming is complete, and I think it went pretty well. For those who came in late, I scheduled programming for RavenCon 2011. This included coming up with panel ideas, contacting guests to ask them to volunteer for panels or suggest new ones, and scheduling the panels so that the whole schedule would be full for people who pay to come to the con.

It’s only Friday, but so far it’s gone really well. Nearly all of our guests responding to my emails in a timely manner, and all but one eventually responded with the names of panels they would like to participate in. As far as guest response goes, it’s gone better than I expected.

As a lark, I participated in a riff of Star Crash, Mystery Science Theater style, with Rob Floyd of Team Fantasmo. I had fun doing it, we had a pretty good crowd, and they seemed to have fun, too. That pleased me.

There has really only been one blemish on the weekend so far, and that’s the aforementioned guest who never replied to any of the nine or so emails I sent them. I still have not heard from this person, but two other people have come to me all aflutter asking why that person is not on more panels. Well, the fact is that person is on four panels (suggested by other guests who said they would be sharing the panel with this noncommunicative guest: the artist who did his book covers, for example). They are also featured in an interview (which was my idea), making five.

So: five panels, which is 20% more than the minimum I aimed for. If this guest wanted to be on more panels, they would have said so. Frankly, I have little sympathy for anyone who complains to me about it. If they want to complain, they should go complain to the person who never responded to their email.

Other than this extremely minor hiccup, Friday went really well. One or two panels had an excessive number of panelists, and one panel had no one in the audience, but this sort of thing is bound to happen. I learned a lot from this year, and next year will have fewer occurrences like this.

I consider Friday a success.

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