Today was the first Magic tournament of the season at Ockanickon and it was nice to catch up with the staff members that perennially help. Dave Scherr was still Commander Giggles and Sean Applegate was still a skilled apiarist as proved by the following:

Sean: Terry.
Me: Yes?
Sean: I had a swarm split the other day.
Me: What’s that involve?
Sean: You have to get the groups of bees to split off so that there’s enough space between the queens for the workers to not go nuts.
Me: How do you do that?
Sean: I put the bees in a box and moved them to a new hive. If you get enough bees in one spot they kind of flow over each other into a river of bees.

A river of bees. That’s a level of Dante’s Inferno, I think.


The above is an unremarkable shot of a deer.  I took it while at camp with my 70-200mm lens and was glad the deer came out clearly.  So, just a picture?

Prior to it being taken, the deer had stood in the puddle for about 20 minutes alternatively jumping up and down then squatting and peeing.  Periodically it’d glance at me and the others on our walk but it mostly just jumped and tinkled.

Deer Butt!

So, this is probably a better representation of our interactions with the deer.

During the OSR Magic tournaments, the basic unit of monetary tracking is “the wad”.  It contains all the small bills collected from single sales and at the end of the event a portion is kept to use as change for the next week, usually $50 in ones.  When removing my laundry from the dryer today a few ones fell out.  I appear to have laundered 50 ones, taking them from their almost military perfection and send them to chaos as depicted below:

Makin' It Rain


As I folded laundry, ones kept falling out of  clothing and I pulled a few more bills from the lint trap and washing machine.  $44 made it back into the change wad meaning I still have $6 floating around in my shirts, pants, and drawers somewhere.  It’s like a scavenger hunt for things you already own!

Joe runs the computer at the Ockanickon Magic tournaments which allows me to run the floor and answer questions.  I really like this arrangement and Joe has at least not actively aired dislike for it as it seems to afford him quality time with current and former staff members as he tackles the amazing task of clicking things in DCIR and later yelling about match pairings.  Camp is a place where Joe and I are both deified and I say that with almost no exaggeration.  We are part of “The Great Old Ones” about whom legends are told.  “Did you hear about when Joe completed camp school without sleeping?” or “Terry once ran a session of Environmental Science that includes 114 kids and one of them was Al Gore”, these nuggets catalyze the rare case where I go from egotism (I’m awesome) to outright arrogance (I’m better than you and I have the evals to prove it).  Also, camp allows one to be a kid again.  Freed largely of the web of connectivity that permeates one’s normal social spaces the sense of ‘now’ comes much more down to who is in the room with you leading to non-standard conversations.

Dave Scherr: My track coach, Mr. Deyfuss said…
Joe: Your track coach is Richard Dreyfuss?  That’s awesome.
Me: That must be motivational having a recognized actor as your coach.
Joe: And I bet each week he chooses a different persona from which to grant wisdom.
Me: Yeah, like what if it were Jaws week and he wanted to inspire you with something.  “Imagine, you’re being chased by a shark.” he’d say.
Joe: “Who is in turn being chased by Roy Scheider with a harpoon gun.”
Me: “Who is in turn being chased by” what did he die from?  Cancer? “who is in turn being chased by cancer.”
Joe: “Who is in turn being chased by the march of scientific progress.”  That would be really inspirational.
Me: Dave, sorry, we cut you off.  You had a story?
Dave: No, yours was better.

After the October Webelos Weekend, I had 40 lbs of pasta left over that was the property of Bucks County Council.  I brought it to roundtable with no takers, posted it to Facebook with no takers, and send out a few emails with no takers.  Not wanting to throw it away, I brought the bags up to camp in their industrial packaging and standardized cardboard box like any pasta for institutional use would be packaged and left it near the kitchen door of the dining hall.  It was gone the next morning and didn’t appear to be any of the trash cans.  This is the one time I’ll thank OSR for their thrift.

Despite my best efforts, I’m still on the short list of those who are contacted when someone has a problem with a technical resource regarding Ockanickon Scout Reservation.  A leader contacted me about having trouble with a form.  Here’s the email back and forth.

Leader:  i’m trying to download the weekly schedul ebut i keep getting a this came from the internet and is currupt error. I could download the daily schedule from home just fine please fix.
Me: I appear to be able to open both just fine.  Can you be more detailed about the error message and whether it’s from Excel or in the web browser?
Leader:  The error comes up when i open it at wokr now the other one does not work either please fix like it was the other one.
Me:  Is the error you’re getting “The file is corrupted and cannot be opened.” ?  If so, I think it may be because of your work’s local policy.
Leader: No the file worked fine at home please fix.
Me: Ok, I’ll email it to you, tell me if it opens.  I’m pretty sure it’s your work computer’s problem.
Leader: Does not open from Outlook at work, will catch up with you tomrrow may see you from home
Me: I’ve modified the file, try opening it now.  *I made no changes*
Leader: File opened fine, thank you for fix!

The reply came from a account rather than his firm’s domain.

I needed to do a presentation at the College of Commissioner Science and realized too late that I’d need a projector.  Someone there would have one but statistically it’d be someone I’d rather not owe anything to so I opted for bringing my 27″ iMac.  The benefits were that it works in full light and there’s almost no set-up.  I got there, set up, and found that two people were scheduled to instruct the same session.  This is the kind of asinine shit that’s made me want to ragequit Scouting some time ago that I at least now have an end date for.  The training was otherwise fine and consisted of 10 trainers for 14 people, another dose of farce I’m glad I can escape for a bit.

After this I went to camp where there were six campmasters for the six odd campers present.  At a few points, Don Wiater would leave the table and want to check on a sports game and I’d yell “Come back, Don.  Who needs the cold embrace of a TV when you have us.”  Like I was one talk to talk about blocking people out to look at displays:

Since it's not a tower, it must be a laptop.

I put together a presentation for Roundtable on using as a host for unit web pages.  I made a sample unit site in about 20 minutes over my lunch break and showed it to unit leaders along with a few other solutions but I think there as some lingering skepticism.

Scoutmaster: Sure, it’s easy for you, but how do we know it’s something we can figure out?
Me: Well, there’s a 97-year old woman who uses WordPress as her platform, she calls it her “web blob” and she figured it out.  There was a 108-year old person who blogs, but I think she used blogger, which is pretty similar.
Scoutmaster: She probably has someone to help her, we won’t have that crutch.
Me:  WordPress is easy enough that the OSR Camp Director maintains their web site.
Scoutmaster: You lie.  He doesn’t even like answering email.
Me: Hold on *log into camp wordpress install, opens edit log*  See:

Scoutmaster: I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

Ken was already awake and had searched for his lost keys for several hours by the time I woke up about eight hours after the campfire ended.  He sat politely in the kitchen and watched my house wake up as he waited for a tow truck to take his car to the dealership so that it could be re-keyed.  Kyle came over and the three of us shared a mediocre breakfast at Erwin’s Country Kitchen where the best feature was a sign that read “Attention Parents: Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy”.  I dropped Ken off at the dealership and then moved to check off my next To Do item list of giving my DVD collection to Ockanickon.

There was a time when I watched movies or at least there was a time when I bought them.  I had a peculiar notion of how to build my library in that each time I watched a movie I bought two more so that my options would grow as I consumed films.  While a nice idea this proves a fantastic way to burn through money, space, and time of which each is precious so I simply stopped buying DVDs all together except for some TV stuff.  And with the depositing of four boxes, my movie collection from 2002-2007 was gone.

Next on the chopping block: Books or Magic cards, not sure which.

Tomorrow I hope to be in DC and have no expectation that I’ll be within a quarter mile of the presenters of The Rally for Sanity and I’m overcoming this by renting a 100-400mm lens.  When I stopped in I was asked for a copy of my license:

Me: Why?
Sales Person: So we can find you in case there’s a problem.
Me: But you already have my credit card.  What could my license do?
Sales Person: You know, so we’ll have it.  It’s not that big of a deal.
Me: Sure, give me your license.
Sales Person: Why?
Me: That way if you charge me anyway, I can, you know, have it.
Sales Person: *Angry stare*

I went on to camp, theoretically to campmaster, but by and large to see Kevin Ott.  Until he arrived I took pictures with excessive zoom of Chuck’s parrot:


A Meeting of Minds


Chuck Gets to First Base with a Parrot

Joe arrived in his Ron Burgundy garb, and I tried very hard to make it look old tymie.


I should have made it blurrier.

Then Kevin arrived with a friend.  It was swell.