A Mirror into Ken's Past -- 1992

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At the SCA's Twelfth Night event in January I was admitted to the Order of the Pelican, the SCA's highest level service recognition. (I had been asked at October Crown, but had the ceremony at 12th Night -- it's an option given to most peerage candidates.) The King and Queen who did it were Radnor and Ysabeau. Radnor is the King who I had given a bracer to 12 years earlier at an event in Alaska. He was disappointed that he hadn't been the King who admitted me to the Order of the Laurel (arts), and when the choice was between he and Phillip (a really nice guy who I liked), I chose him, mostly because I had known him longer. During the ceremony he was wearing the bracer I had given him. I was shocked. He also said some of the nicest things about me, I sort of floated on air the rest of the event.

At the same event the Golden Stag Players did our next performance, and we ended up filling most of the seats in the hall by the time the show was done. That was pretty cool, since it was only our second performance. The GSP is still going, and I won't bore you with all the details of what we did through the rest of this bio. I will say that I nearly burned the troupe out in the first year, as we did play after play. After awhile we backed off a bit to a more sedate pace, and now we're usually doing one major production a year, at 12th Night. I will mention some special bits that happened later on ...

We went to Disneyland this year (I think) with Tim, Laurie, Jeff, and a whole slew of people. Tim had become a member of the Magic Castle (a professional organization for stage magicians), and we spent one evening at the actual location called the Magic Castle. That was kind of fun, but it was really crowded and the place has poor ventilation. The logistics of taking 8 or more people to Disneyland were such that Carolyn and I decided we'd never do that again.

Somewhere in here Jeff got fired from his job, and after supporting him for some time, Carolyn and I asked him to move out. It was painful because he had been my best friend, but supporting anyone who isn't really trying to get their life in order is a bad idea. He moved in with his mother, and shortly after that she died of cancer. Jeff wasn't having a good time, and we felt kind of bad. But we did what we felt we had to do. He ended up recovering and moving to Santa Cruz, where his health got a LOT better. We're friends again, but it was a bit stressful for awhile. When Jeff moved, it was easier for him to leave his cat with us, and we got along fine with Max.

I keep forgetting Jeff's health issues, because his health is so much better now with him living in the Santa Cruz area, where the air is cleaner than in the central part of the Bay Area. Jeff has a really bad case of asthma. I can remember one SCA event where he sat on his knees rather than try to sleep, because he would have drowned in his own fluids. He didn't want to "bother anyone", so he sat there spitting up fluids from his lungs into a glass jar all night. In the morning he was hauled off to the hospital, and when we could talk to him again he got yelled at. Another time he, Carolyn and I were at the American Music Hall in San Francisco to see "The Bobs". Jeff's drugs didn't kick in and the place was full of cigarette smoke. Rather than ruin the concert for us by leaving, he sat there quietly getting more and more sick. When the show was over and he couldn't stand up, we panicked and called an ambulance. He nearly died in the ambulance. We were so mad at him over that. CJ went to the hospital and reamed him out for it, and I think this was the last time he pulled that kind of a stunt (basically she told him that if he didn't want to inconvenience us, he wouldn't die on us!).

At the Mists Spring Banquet (SCA) event that year, CJ, Tim and Laurie had a birthday cake done up for me with a plastic stag on it and everything. We had a small birthday party at the event. I remember this was an event where Carolyn laughed so hard she got a bloody nose from it (it's all Tim's fault, really! He broke her, I tell you!).


I went to an (SCA) heraldic Symposium held in Seattle that summer as I was a senior herald in the SCA, and felt it couldn't hurt. I was also the deputy of the Kingdom herald. He decided (for reasons we don't need to go into) that he would be stepping down from the office sooner than he had planned, and at an impromptu meeting of the senior heralds from the West that were there (most of them, oddly enough) he stated I would be taking over the position at Purgatorio Coronation in Alaska.

The big SCA event this summer was this Coronation event being held in my home turf -- Anchorage, Alaska. I HAD to go! So did Carolyn. Of course, mother nature chooses the weirdest times to show off ... Mt. Spur, a volcano outside of Anchorage by some distance decided to spew ash into the air that week. It caused some problems, but it rained by the time we got there and the ash wasn't hanging in the air (which meant it wasn't getting into people's lungs).

It was a really fun event. I was officialy invested as the Vesper Principal Herald of the West Kingdom. This was a BIG DEAL. This office is very heavy on the paperwork side, and lots of administrivia to deal with. I vowed I'd have the trains working on time.

We spent a week there, and Kylson and Robin took time out from work to show folk around. Carolyn had never been to Alaska before and we went a long way out through the Matanuska Valley out to Talkeetna (and Aldith's eyes were big most of the time, as she saw Moose, Eagles, Rams on the mountainside, the Matanuska glacier, MOUNTAINS, and more). She fell in love with the place. We did some hunting through some marshy ground to find some diamond willow (hard to describe, if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about).


When we came back from Alaska I jumped feet first into fixing some of the problems in the herald's office -- my predecessor, a nice guy (and we're friends again after this, at the time I was a bit put out by the shape the office was in), but not an administrator, left the office a mess. A lot of correspondence hadn't been done.

The monthly meetings were held in our living room, where a dining room table (the one that Kay had bought) was set up. The Herald's computer was in the bedroom that had been designated as a library. I had a few folk volunteer for some of the senior positions that I could trust, so when I went to events, I wasn't swamped with dealing with running the herald's office at events. I mostly dealt with paperwork. And more paperwork. Most people, including the ones in the herald's office, had no idea how much work I was doing on my own.

Carolyn was a big help here as she made sure that there was food ("If you feed them, they will come!"), and we always cleaned the house before one of these meetings. She provided entertainment for those who weren't involved in the meeting, as well (this got to be a bit rough on her, because she didn't have any down time until the meeting was over).

At the same time I was still running the Golden Stag Players. I was busy! Oddly enough I was quite happy. I organized my life in such a way that I would come home from work, if there was any correspondence for the heralds, I jumped on it, then I had my evenings to do what CJ and I had planned.

Some of that included Wednesday night play rehearsals (the GSP figured out eventually that this was a bad idea -- people were getting home at 11 or later at night, and going to work the next day fried, and so on -- we eventually moved to Sundays and it's worked a lot better since).

I was still doing TeamB volunteer tech support for Borland, and during the year had suggested to folk at Borland that some people be added to the team for dBASE (since I was the only one at the time). The team became a really solid group of people, some of whom had been talking on and off since the Ashton-Tate BBS days, but most of whom had never met face-to-face. I can't remember who was "first" or "second" or .... it's been a long time, and a lot of water has gone under that bridge.

At the TeamB meeting that year, I saw a guy walk into the room who looked way too much like my friend Kylson in Alaska. I was confused. I kept looking at him (he was at the far end of a large conference table). He was wondering why I kept looking at him, and during a break asked. This guy turned out to be Charles Miedzinski, whom I have worked with since both at Borland and in my current (as of this writing) job at dBASE, Inc. I had also had a couple of "run-ins" with him during beta testing of dBASE IV in email that were weird. At one point he was the TeamB contact at Borland (a position that changed hands several times), a fellow QA Engineer, and now my manager. Regarding the appearance issues -- if you were to stand Charles and Kylson side-by-side you wouldn't see a HUGE resemblance, especially now, but there are similarities. From across the room, in a not-well-lit room (I think we were viewing some overheads or something) they looked enough alike to throw me off. They're both tall (similar height, 6'2" or taller), and wide (basically as one person talking about Kylson once said "Built like a human being only bigger!"), balding, similar complexion and beards ... Charles stoops his shoulders a bit, where Kylson doesn't.

I think the year previously I had spent Christmas with Carolyn at her mother and step-father's place, I am real sure I did this year. It was great -- her mother loves me. Her step-father's a real kick in the pants. Her sister's a lot of fun, as is her brother! I loved Carolyn's family. That became important in the next couple of years ...

I don't know exactly when in here, but before Tim, Laurie and Jeff moved to Santa Cruz, I started a "Friday night when there's no SCA camping event or other commitment" gaming night. It was rather unstructured. We sometimes played my role-playing game, sometimes watched movies, sometimes played some board games. The important thing was that we got to hang out. Tim, Laurie, Jeff, Eric Thompson and sometimes his girlfriend (at the time) Gail Cassefer would come over and we'd have a pretty silly evening. Once that group of folk moved to Santa Cruz, driving 70+ miles to game for a few hours and then driving back got to be a bit much, so it ended. Tim, Jeff and I went to DunDraCon (the local gaming convention in the San Jose area) for a couple of years in here as well, but it got to be a bit crazed and we stopped.

A Few Photos
(These are thumbnails, click on them to see larger versions with text explaining them)

Maxwell's Silver

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