I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
November 13, 2017 - 3:56 p.m.
I've had two cups of coffee and I'm ready to write about NERFA. I'm going to get to my NERFA discoveries but as I expect to have many new Gentle Readers I should let them know what they are getting into by starting today with a regular feature of Wise Madness idiot stories. The idiot in question, is always myself. I have many of them from the long weekend, but I've forgotten some of them; why? All together now; because I'm an idiot. I knew you'd get the hang of it. All my new friends are smart, just like my old friends.
One of the goodies in the NERFA bag this year was a travel mugs. I've lost all my old travel mugs, I had a collection. I was very happy to hear they were being given away. My most typical look at NERFA is in a hoodie, hood up, sweats, and slippers, carrying coffee from the Ripton Coffee House, the best coffee at NERFA, and among the finest anywhere. On Friday afternoon I brought it into the Philly Folksong Society room. I had to leave a bit before the showcase was over. I gathered all my things, including my phone which was charging, and made my way back to my room to get my camera so I'd have it ready for the Formal and Semi-Formal showcases. When I got to my room I realized that forgot my coffee mug on a table in the PFS room. Everyone has one, so I was not confident that it would still be there later as someone might assume it was his or hers.
Still, no big deal, I got my camera and went down to dinner. The Formal Showcase and Keynote Speech are in the same room. I'm not just an idiot, I'm also a genius; Under self-relationship status, I say, "it's complicated. My brilliant idea was to grab a chair down front for the show before I got dinner. I had a little debate with myself on what seat to take that was great for both taking pictures and listening. I decided on one, took out the pad the conference gives you, wrote my name on it, left it on my seat, and headed over to the dining room portion of the ballroom. I put my NERFA bag on the back of my chair and realized that I didn't have my camera bag. I went back up by the stage to see if I left it on or under the seat I chose. I hadn't. How could I lose my camera bag on the way from my room to my seat when I didn't stop anywhere? I figured I must have left it in my room. I ate my dinner planning on going back to room to get my camera before Vance Gilbert's keynote speech.
Sadly, I don't remember who I ate with, only that it was people I knew, something I usually try to avoid at NERFA. I think that might be the meal where Emily Mure came over near the end and we got involved in a conversation. Whoever it was, I waited too long to get back to my room; my camera was not there. I did not panic. I checked at the front desk. It wasn't there. I checked at conference registration, it wasn't there. By the time I was finished with that Vance had already given much of his speech. It's the best NERFA keynote speech ever. It was a long form poem on making the NERFAverse more inclusive and adventurous. Vance is brilliant, funny, and a great guy so I expected something special, but not that
When he was finished, I congratulated him and looked under my seat again with my phone flashlight. All my friends nearby asked what I was looking for. It didn't help that the camera bag is black. I used my phone's flashlight but didn't see it. Dan was sitting a few seats away from me. He took out his phone flashlight, he quickly found it. It wasn't under my seat but two seats over. The other chair I was debating taking when I staked out my perch. It might look easy not having a brain but it's not. I thanked Dan profusely and in the course of our conversation it came out that I had left my coffee mug in the Philly Folksong room. His wife offered to give me hers. I told her no rush, give it to me the next day at brunch. Later that night when I went back to the room to see if my cup was there, my friend Meghan Cary was playing. I spotted an unattended mug up near the stage, I figured that was mine. There was backdrop malfunction during her set. While Justin fixed that I used the opportunity to sit by the cup. When Meghan finished her next song, I grabbed the cup and left. Meghan called after me, "You're stealing my wine!" I wasn't my coffee mug. The irony is that like Dracula, I never drink wine. I felt totally ashamed and slunk to the back of the room. I told someone what happened, and she pointed out my mug by the sink! Yay! I had a mug. I promptly filled it with coffee from the Ripton Coffeehouse and stayed awake for the late-night showcases.
The next day at breakfast I brought my mug down. First thing I did was stop at Ripton to fill it with great quality before switching to the hotel coffee. Phyllis gave me her mug. I accepted it as I knew there was a good chance I'd lose it again. I went back to my room carrying two mugs. I took a nap. When I got up to leave the original mug was gone. Carrying two mugs in my hand I managed to lose one of them. How you ask? Easy, I'm an idiot. You're getting the idea. Someone else offered me some mugs. If you are reading this I want them. I need more travel mugs.
One more idiot story. On Sunday we had to check out before lunch. I packed my bags and did an idiot check. Then I did a second idiot check. If you know you are an idiot you can take precautions. I got everything, packed my extra bags on top of my small wheeled suitcase and went downstairs. At lunch Bob, my roommate asked me if I took my leather jacket. I didn't! despite two idiot checks I left it in the closet. Not a disaster, I got another key at the front desk and recovered it. I'm sure there are other idiot stories but those are the most entertaining.
I've written 1127 words about being an idiot. So much for telling you of my favorite discoveries. Maybe I'll have the energy to write another entry later. I'm not sure if I'll have time to write tomorrow. I suspect I will but I'm not sure. I'm meeting the Johnson siblings from the Belle Hollows and giving them the Gordon Tour of New York and then we are going to John Platt's On Your Radar. As soon as I finish this I should text them and make plans. Don't let me forget. If I do it's your fault; we have established that I'm an idiot.
The plan is to finish this and go grocery shopping. Food is good; man does not live by music alone.
Choices - November 17, 2017
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