Friday, February 10, 2006

The Christians and the Pagans Redux

Lovely day, today. It's sunny and warm; a real Chamber of Commerce kind of day (1).

Hawk and her husband are in town from Boston, visiting friends and family. We played email tag until we could find a time for lunch that suited all parties, (their social calendar filled up very fast once we all knew they were coming). We met today for lunch at the Fresh Choice resteraunt in Sunnyvale. Hawk told me that she couldn't find salad bars like that in the Boston area and that she had missed them. Her husband (let's call him "Joseph") was very happy to be sitting with us in the warm sunshine after the blizzards back home. He told me about a weather condition they call a "bizzardcane" i.e. a snow blizzard with hurricane force winds. I've never experienced a "real" winter in Tahoe, let alone the east coast and I can't even imagine what that's like. However I have lived through several serious earthquakes, not to mention fires and the LA riots, so we had a good time comparing emergency kits and preparedness plans. (Yes, we really are that geeky). Most Californians with any sense know that when The Big One finally hits us, we are going to have to survive between 1 - 3 weeks without any emergency services and very little help. We stock up on food, water medical supplies and such with that in mind. It seems that being snowbound and without power for days at a time can lead to the same needs so we had a fun time trading "What if" scenarios over lunch. (2)

Hawk and Jacob moved to Boston in 2003. Before that, they had worked with us here at Full Circle. Both were active in the gaming community, which is how I first met them. (I'm not a role player myself, but like them as a species, and many of my friends and Full Circle staff are active in that world). Hawk and Joseph joined our Black Light Pagan Bowling league (3) in 2001 and I got to know them at the dinners that followed. Hawk was our Witches' Ball Director for the Bohemian Ball in 2002 and she did a fantastic job. She was on our committee when we planned the Seamstress Guild Discworld Party for Terry Pratchett at ConJose. (I have a ton of pictures from that event. I really need to post those on a webpage). That party was a huge success, and Terry had a great time. Hawk's hard work, common sense, party smarts and fabulous presence (we were all dressed as Victorian courtesans and she made her own, very stunning dress) was a large part of that success.

For the record: Jacob came as Ventinari, and I dressed as Mrs. Palm. Hawk came as our most sought after Seamstress. My friend Quark was Foul O'Ron and my partner made a magnificent and very sexy Greebo (in human form). Sage came in a mirrored dress as the Fairy Godmother, and her sister Artemesia dressed as Ptraci the Temple Dancer. Another gal pal, Kristil, came as Angua. She and a Boston Discworld Fan (great group of people) helped us to guard the door. (The suite they gave us was huge and took up several rooms, but it soon packed with people and we had to have crowd control all night long.) Kristil also help with decorations by helping me find and prepare the ravens & olives, put out the varoius images of death and get out the plastic rats for the infamous "rats onna stick". Other gals came as various Seamstresses (including a lucious "Satine" (different world, but definatly the right dress) and Terry was resplendant as "Our Esteemed Patron" in a velvet smoking jacket. The Con staff ordered special food for the party, which was damn nice of them, and we had about 500 guests, overall . Our Mr. Dibbler (another Boston fan) ran the auction of the Discworld items (brought and signed by Terry) and we raised a good deal of cash for the Orangutan Foundation. The party went so late we finally closed the Con Suite, and took it down into the lobby of the hotel. Great evening.

I wrote about Hawk several years ago in an essay titled "The Christians and the Pagans". Hawk and Jacob are great people and I've learned a lot from working with them. Jacob is one of those amazing managers who always has the right word in any situation. After year's or practice I'm good at this, but Jacob is genius level, (why-aren't-you-writing-a-book-about-this?) good. Whenever I'm in highly flammable situation and find myself stuck for a tactful, clear minded phrasing that people will hear, I go to two people, and Jacob is one of those two.

I enjoyed our visit immensely. I was glad to hear they had found a congregation back east that had the right feel for them; one that focuses on charitable work and ecology; two issues near and dear to their hearts. It isn't easy for these two to find True Tribe, being as they are deeply faithful , evangelical Christians with extensive educations and liberal mindsets. The odds were always better that they would find their place in the Boston area, the land of Ben Franklin and a haven for all Free Thinkers.

People sometimes wonder what I have in common with these two. I think Walter Isaacson, Franklin's biographer, sums it up best:

... an aversion to tyranny; advocacy of an unbridled free press; wry, homespun humor; humility, or at least the appearance of it, in dealing with others; idealism as well as realism in foreign policy; willingness to compromise; and tolerance of contrary views, particularly in religion. Such traits enhance social capital and should "distinguish the messy struggles that confront a new century."

Yep, that sums it up, nicely.

Tonight I will watch the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics with Quark. (4) Nothing speaks to the heart of community like the entrance of the athletes from all nations. It gets to me, every time.


(1) The kind of day city governments like to take postcards of their mountains, parks and city center beau's they know they'll come out looking gorgeous.

(2) Moving to Oregon doesn't change things. The Pacific Northwest has earthquakes, as well, although the odds are far less that another big one will hit within the next hundred years.

(3) On Saturday nights our local bowling alley would be lit entirely with black lights, lasers and smoke effects, and play nothing but rock and roll music from 6 to midnight. Thus the Pagan Black Light bowling League was born. Alas, they tore down that ally last year and turned the space into a high end shopping mall.

(4) He, in turn, will be attending a role playing game and party in Hawk & Joseph's honor on Saturday night at the home of one of our former council members. He has promised to bring one of his famous homemade desserts: Death by Chocolate.

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