The Office 2007 interface has been much maligned despite what I think is its GUI splendor.  Despite having some installation problems, I’ve come to love the way the ribbon interface rewards exploration and cuts click-paths from 1-7 clicks to 2-3.  At the lodge executive board meeting, the uphill battle faced by UI designers hit home as I was trying to help someone change some things about the lodge minutes.  He’s a normally sharp kid but apparently had been enraptured by the hatred of the ribbon.

Him: How do I change the margins this way?  Everything’s so hard.
Me: Click over a tab.
Him: What tab?
Me: See that thing at the top.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Where there’s a bunch in a row that correspond to large categories of document modification.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Where if you hit tab you move over one.
Him: Yeah.
Me: That’s a tab.
Him: Oh.  Okay.  So how do I change the margins in this “print tab” (he actually used air quotes)
Me: Click margin.  And pick the one you want, you can even preview what it’ll look like by doing a mouse-over.
Him: Oh.  Why didn’t I know this before.
Me: Fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the new.  Embrace it, and you shall become an Office Ninja.
Him: One day, Terry.  One day.

I was first worried that the new lodge executive board wouldn’t have the skills and abilities needed to thrive in Scouting and direct the lodge.  All this washed away when the lodge 2nd vice chief presented a motion that passed that the new lodge chief couldn’t say “awesome” more than twice a meeting.

That’s how parli pro was meant to be used.

I enjoy a good auction.  I enjoy running one even more.  Auctions are battle of wits and represents a very strong suspension of disbelief from the audience with the I’ll-pay-this-much-if-you-convince-me-it’s-worth-that-much methodology as the cornerstone of success. Normally I shoot for 50% above regular market value as my target price for a given items and there are a few ways to help this along:

1) Every item is special – it doesn’t matter if you’re selling something out of a God damn gumball machine, the what-ever you’re holding is unique the audience just needs to know why.

2) Convince the bidder that they’ll be taken down a peg in the eyes of a cruel and calculating God if they let the bid stand with someone else on an item they’ve bid where the high bid is less than the combined value of their wallet and retirement.

Anyway, I’ve set a new personal record.  A patch that normally sells for $8.00 sold for $42.00.  I win.

The lodge banquet went surprisingly well. Why you may ask? Well, THE FIREPLACE IN FOSTER HALL ACTUALLY CONTAINED A REAL FIRE.  That was the first time it’s ever been lit for a public event without the building having been smoked out.

The food was unimpressive and the quality has dropped each year but there were some redeeming aspects.  Dave Hasel, the council executive, made a delightful little speech about the importance of the Order of the Arrow, so short in fact, that Bill Schilling and I didn’t have enough time to make a complete Buzzword Bingo board including such phrases as “this is their Philmont” and “the average time a boy spends in Scouting is”.  He did bring up the cliche of “it doesn’t matter how much money you have when you die as long as you helped a child” crap, this statement obviously ignores the deceased’s children as well as their family’s financial needs but after the “I have nothing profound to say” affair I’ve kept my mouth shut at Scout funerals.  Bill Schilling whispered to me “God, this speech is so boring the fire’s falling asleep” and I agreed.

Then, I saw a whole bunch of people get angry as Dave left before Bill Kuhn’s memorial.  It was the first time I’d seen the Broken Arrow ceremony done and it was impressive as the folks standing directly in front of the fire didn’t say anything as their pants nearly caught on fire and the ceremony was done from memory.

Towards the end, I had an idea.  Every major Order of the Arrow event attended by Unami Lodge #1 involves their stupid film canisters full of dirt from the first ceremonial site.  Now that they’ve gone underwater so many times I think they should now give people flood water from the first ceremonial site.