"There’s a girl here who looks just like you- only she’s wearing more clothes." -Julie, Herald Camp
Ringworm update: As of last Sunday (the 17th) it is GONE. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kaliska (whom I have seen every year at this event since she was an embryo) is now taller than me. I feel old. And short.
Jaysen is now so tall that he picks me up when he hugs me.
The "Cult of Kitsune and Dru" apparently lives on among the Herald Camp kids. Kids are like cats- they gravitate to the people who do not like them- although both Dru and I confess to liking all the Herald Camp kids (this is very unusual for me). We are told that the kids are manipulated all year long with with "This is what Kitsune and Dru would do."
A transexual (male to female) woman was banned from participating in the women’s ritual. She called the facilitator out in the following morning’s meeting. The next day, that woman and the meeting facilitator stood up in meeting holding hands, and pledged to work on healing and cooperation. It led to an onsite press conference podcast featuring the two of them and Selena. This is not the first occasion of this brouhaha (and it’s one of the reasons I avoid the women’s rit), but it’s looking like Circle is going to start requiring the facilitators of the men’s and women’s rits to include anyone who self-identifies as female (Arthur ran the men’s rit this year, and he specified "Men and anyone who identifies as a man").
I called out both Dru ("Heralds are sexy!") and Arthur ("Musicians are sexy!") in morning meeting. For good measure, when the women who had been newly croned stood up to be announced, I hollered, "Crones are sexy!" They appreciated it.
I encountered a few people (mostly Guardians) who actually knew what a khukri was. They all agreed that I had lucked out on a nice piece, after risking a buy off the internet. K-Bar (and Bones, maker of the bell drums) both should sponsor me on this trip next year, for all the advertising they got.
Tuatha Dea did a neat thing at the end of their evening concert. They started playing the final instrumental, and the lead singer ran offstage, went down into the audience and crowd of dancers, and pulled a guy up onstage to replace him at the djembe. Then another band member ran offstage and pulled someone up to replace her, and so on, till the entire band was comprised of audience members. They all picked people that they knew could play their instruments (mostly members of the other bands), although one little four-year-old girl was pulled up to play the tamborine. It was really neat.
The Roaming Gnome was placed at my feet for a photo op during the morning meeting drumming.
"Magic skirts"- I think by the end of the week, I was the only female onsite who didn’t have one.
I was happy that I asked my Hunt Drum lieutenant to take point this year. I missed the role some- especially when some of the underdrummers told me that they had nicknamed me "The Machine", and reminded me of visions that they had had wherein I grew to about ten feet tall, and my hands turned into bone and blood(!). But being the understudy was much less stressful. Dru did very well, and it seems to have been a transformative experience for her. Even if she did almost kill one of our drummers. This guy in the front row missed a cue, and she looked daggers at him (Dru looks daggers very well). The second time he missed the cue, she bared her teeth and charged him! I thought she was going to take him out! She later claimed that she meant to just take a step or two toward him to get his attention, but her injured knee faltered, and she stumbled forward right into his chair. She did indeed succeed in getting his attention. The guy did not miss any more cues. Dru’s totem is Godzilla- so for the rest of the week, we were all singing "Oh no- there goes the front row- go go Godzilla!"
One Hunter arching back and spitting the blood of his kill in a glittering fountain into the air, with the backdrop of the bonfire… I felt like I’d been struck by lightning…
Another Hunter- a woman- when invited to put some of the kill on the bonfire, she picked up an entire straw bale and dumped it on there. In the post-mortem, she explained to us that she had done it because "It wasn’t dead yet."
Although I knew I couldn’t detatch enough to consider Hunting my autumn 2011 Traumarama, I had been hoping to at least do some internal work on it. However, I was too distracted with propping up Dru to even have it cross my mind more than a couple of times. I could see that she was in serious physical pain. I’m really pleased that I had enough focus and energy to not only do my job, but send her a lot of energy as well. Derek was pretty busy this time with a problematic Hunter, so I barely saw him. Normally, he makes a point of feeding me and the other drummers a lot. I did notice the lack.
I did throw the situation on the fire when the drummers were invited forward to help burn the kill. I climbed on top of the straw bale and sunk my arm up to the shoulder to get a handful from the center. When I tossed it on the fire, it rolled right off. Sigh.
Someone saw a "shield" in the circle. That would have been Derek (whose use-name, Aegis, means "shield"). Wow.
One of the Hunt drummers brought an extra drum to the rit- he has been using it as a therapy drum for his severely autistic nephew. It’s the only thing the kid shows any response to. Andy used the drum in the Hunt to charge it up with Hunt energy, then Pathwalker blessed it during the Hunt post-mortem.
Also during post-mortem: Bo described having been looking right at the drummers when we stopped and froze. Dru and I have really harped on that abrupt break and the ensuing moment of silence as the most important point of the rit. This was the best abrupt stop and moment of silence that I think we have ever done. Bo said that one of the drummers slumped, bugeyed, back in hir chair and mouthed "OH…..MY……..Rickson Gracie!!!!!!"
We are going to have to kick James out next year. Well, *I* am going to have to kick James out next year, because this was kind of my fault and I need to redeem myself with Dru. Ugh. Dru was pissed at me for not warning her ahead of time that he had a questionable history. He argued with her (and Aspen too) before the Hunt because he wanted to use a djun djun, which we do not allow. Dru wanted him gone right then, but I lobbied for him. Then he argued with her right before we began becase he forgot a chair, and she couldn’t let him leave because the wards were already set. I was relieved to have him in the rear left corner, because we turned out to have a REALLY disruptive guy back there who kept getting up to walk around (he had leg cramps!). If James and Michael had not been in that corner, and there had been Hunt virgins beside Mr. Disruptive, that entire sections would have been a clusterfuck. I thanked James after. But next year I’m going to have to tell him he can’t drum with us because he was being argumentative with Dru. Not looking forward to this confrontation.
To my displeasure, a mike is now being used in morning meetings. When Dennis tried to hand it to me, I hollered, "I don’t need no stinkin’ microphone!" to applause. And no, I didn’t need it. The back row and beyond can hear me just fine. This is my job.
Shel chasing me down the road to stop me and tell me that I looked "Smoking hot" in that dress (that would be the scarlet column dress with the zigzags).
Faceoff with the trash detail. The trash/recycling truck was coming up the road, yelling "Bring out your trash!" We were watching them with some respectful admiration, and I for one was wondering if I could steal away one or two of those people next year- then they saw us watching, and one of them yelled, "Trash workshift is louder than Heralds!" Oh baby, then it was *ON*. Luckily we happened to have all three coordinators, plus Derek’s very loud wife, plus two underheralds and a couple of the teens in camp at the moment. "Come over here and say that- we can’t HEAR you!" "Trash truck is Herld Camp REJECTS!" "AMATEURS!!!" We heckled each other at top volume all the way from one end of camp to the other. Hilarious.
A good latenight campfire convo with Dru about weapons and such. She has just gotten a CPL, and is currently reading a bunch of the same books about violence etc that are in my own library. Need to send her a pack of links. I told her that if I showed up next year and still had not gotten around to buying a gun, she should give me a hard time about it.
My Evil Twin: I had at least a dozen people inform me of the existance of my doppelganger (including the Herald Camp teen quoted above, who has known me since she was a sprout, and still followed Jo up the road calling to her by my name and wondering why she didn’t turn around). Only one person actually called me Jo- but I am much more famous there than she is, so she had lots and lots of people calling her Kitsune. Two of me- how scary is that? But it’s not just that she looks like me, and walks like me, and dresses like me (albeit with more clothes, hee hee)- she practices Kung Fu and Tai Chi (that explains the walk), she plays djembe (she was one of our Hunt drummers again this year), we have both Hunted once and figured out that we picked the SAME SPACE on subsequent years and also were each given a Hunt token with a deer antler in it, and a couple of years ago we sat beside each other at a workshop and noticed that we were both wearing the same watch. We are the same person. Next year she wants to bring us shirts- mine will say NOT JO and hers will say NOT KITSUNE. Of course she does not need to ask my size, color or style preference.
"Accept your power." Someone said this during a meeting. I don’t even remember who it was or what the context was, but it struck me.
I offered to coordinate Heralding on Hunt day as well as the day after, since we’ve stuck poor Dru with Hunt day for the last three years. I was fortunate enough to have two sets of excellent volunteers (including Gypsi). I had to do very little of my own heralding, although when I did do it, the camp was even more appreciative than usual. I was fairly mobbed after each announcement.
Dru’s story about getting food poisoning or something the first night, and having a conversation with a concerned Guardian who was standing outside the portajohn while she was puking.
Guardian: "Ma’am? Are you all right in there?"
Dru: *braak*gaak* "Yes, thank you, I’m ok."
Guardian: "Are you camped right around here?"
Dru: *heave*heave* "Yes, I’m really close."
Guardian: "Well, you understand we’re very concerned about your welfare."
Dru: *bloog*blorg* "Thank you, now please please go away!"
I got to do two concerts’ worth of Extreme Contact Improv For Martial Artists with Eric (who was back after a two year hiatus, yay!). I taught him a couple of the things I learned in Acrobalance Circus School. We danced the afternoon concert right in front of the stage. I don’t like dancing down there right in front of the crowd with everyone staring at us, but that was the only shady place, so it was either that or dance in the frying lunchtime sun. We were on cement, too, but he did not drop me.
Random woman in showerhouse: "Do you have anything sharp?" (It would have been pretty funny to whip out the khukri at that moment, but unfortunately I did not have it on me that day. I do, however, ALWAYS have something sharp.)
Sunbow at morning meeting. I have never seen one before. It was literally a full rainbow in a circle around the sun.
Counts as exercise: I had the heavy drum this year, so I get weightlifting points fro hauling it around camp all week. I also dragged two big wagonloads of drums from Herald Camp to the Hunt space and back again.
Due to Dru’s injured knee, we did not do the first morning meeting heralding all three together as per custom. I was disappointed, but informed her that we were doing the closing day morning meeting heralding all three together even if Derek and I had to drag her by her feet. The three way harmony of "HEAR YE, HEAR YE!" is one of my favorite moments, every year.
Ed was much better. He was gaunt, but much more present mentally than last year, and did not need to be babysat every minute. He still gets a bit lost now and then. I was dispatched once by FRS to hunt him down and bring him to a sweat lodge where they were waiting on him, because he was wandering around camp aimlessly.
I went by the lost and found box, and lucky I did, because one of my bras was in there. There is a reasonable explanation for this. I swear.
Do not ask for "just a little honey mustard" at the Minneapolis Airport Subway unless you want three gallons of honey mustard dumped on your sandwich.
My djembe arrived home with a broken head. Argh. I had been afraid of that. The guy who threw it on the conveyer belt at O’Hare really THREW it. This is going to be an expensive fix. Plus I had really wanted to use that drum to lead Turtle Drum next week. Oh well.
Improvement points for next year:
Remember to prelim-stake the tent before trying to set up the poles. Better yet, see if instructions are available on the web for setting up this damn thing. With pictures.
I have been using the same two dog-eared little notebooks for heralding for a few years now. They are disintegrating, and I had to put them in ziplocs to keep them together. I really need to put the information that needs saving (Instructions for Herald Minions, Instructions for Hunt drummers, FRS channels, snarky rhyming couplets to Herald on rainy days) in the computer and print out what I need to take, then I can just burn my daily notebook pages instead of flipping frantically through a lot of crap trying to find what I need. Maybe even printouts to give the Underheralds.
Do not attempt the second verse to the "One spirit in the dark" chant. I sound like a rock star on the first verse, but the second is *not* in my range.
Duck out of the main ritual procession BEFORE getting into the circle. I keep getting pulled unwillingly into going through the entire main ritual structure when all I want to do is drum. This time, when I tried to duck out of line and go stand by Dennis and his djun djuns, one of the ritual traffic contollers actually grabbed me by the arm and pulled me along. I pulled back, so she gripped harder and yanked harder. Grrrrrrrr. I know she was just trying to do her job, but DO NOT grab me. I am a drummer. I am only here to process and drum. I do not wanna walk in spirals, chant, have people trying to hand me rocks and slips of paper, and do all sorts of other crap. I resisted belting her, and just went along like a good girl, but next time I am stopping on the road and not even passing the wards.
I really do not like processing with a djembe. Next year, I am going to ship the tom to Derek. Damn the expense and hassle.
Print out better maps. I got pretty close to the campground with no problem, but then spent a frustrating two hours making gradually-decreasing spirals around a specific section of farmland. I knew the campground was within my little Bermuda Triangle, and logic would seem to dictate that I would sooner or later cross a road that was mentioned on the directions, but I just never did.
Improvement points from last year which worked and should be kept:
Do try to fit the Remo sound shapes into the luggage. They are not Ascha, but they’re better than nothing.
Lighting Dru from below (with bucket candles) and above (with hanging lanterns) during the Hunt worked.
This year, I decided to endure the expense and weight of bringing Duracells for my FRS’s instead of using the crappy staff rechargable battery setup. MUCH LESS STRESSFUL. Repeat next year.
Make sure to examine the rental car windshield minutely. This time, I found a chip which I certainly would have gotten charged for had I not pointed it out before I touched the car.
It is worth it to refrain from packing the djembe until after the final meeting. I know Pathwalker won’t be there. People *do* want to dance. This year I was the only one to show up on time with *any* instrument, and had to hold the space all by myself- although two others showed up just in time to perform for a couple minutes with me before we were called to order.
Jiu jitsu! I wasn’t sure if I would remember how to do jiu jitsu. Between the ringworm and the trip, this was definitely one of the longest hiatuses ever.
Advanced class in Bellevue. Rolled a bit with Chris to warm up. He was being a nice partner and not using his considerable size and strength advantage. I was on top a lot. He’s doing the Revolution on the 7th. I got KOB on him several times, then told him to shrimp out immediately and stop letting me get that. He got better in the second half of the roll. I also warned him about the trap of losing points by grabbing half guard and letting the guy get out.
From standup: break elbow grip, you get sleeve cuff grip, place elbow over opponent’s elbow, kneel and grab leg. Fireman’s lift. Throw. Note that you must crank opponent’s shoulder up before you go in for the kneel. Also note that if you can keep your own elbow at your ribs when you go down, it torques opponent’s shoulder painfully and makes it difficult for hir to do anything. Keep head postured up during the throw. I grabbed Ron to drill with- "If I have to pick somebody up tonight, I want it to be you."
Back mount: choke, armbar. The key to both is hip placement, but don’t get slopy- you must do it step by step.
One roll with (groan) Ritchie. With Hostility Boy out of town, this is really the only person in both schools that I dread working with. Sure enough, he came out really spazzy and aggressive, got a half-assed triangle with just my elbow in, and spent the next four minutes grinding his knuckles viciously into my lip, cheek and neck trying to bully me into giving up the hand. I held out for a while, because I hate rewarding this type of behavior with a tap, but finally gave it to him. He knew he’d been hurting me, because he said, "Are you all right?" Yes, asshat, no thanks to you, I’m fine, let’s just go. I was expecting round two of the same, but somehow I stayed on top of him and kept him on the defensive for most of the second match. Finally he reversed me and ended up in my guard; I’m sure it would have gone rapidly downhill from there for me, but luckily the clock ran out.