Players at the Game of People

Finished it yesterday.  Not too bad.

War of Honor

It’s past five in the morning. I’ve been up reading for almost the last four hours because I wanted to finish War of Honor. It’s good. The pace is much slower than I remember previous Honor Harrington books being, but things do move along.

Reading all of the Honor anthologies before this book is highly recommended.


As usual, the end of the book is very open for more.  Also as usual, I’m left with the feeling of, “Okay, what now?” Giancola needs to be removed from office.  Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen until late into the next book, at best.  And what of Honor, Hamish, and Emily?  Emily seems more accepting of a three-way relationship now (or, at least, of Hamish having relationships with two women).  Can Honor do the same?  Can Hamish balance two relationships?  (If he can’t, I fear Emily will be the poorer, given the newly forged empathic bond between Honor and Hamish.)

Hm. Other thoughts. I knew from the dust jacket that there’d again be escalations of hostility. (I hate those things; they can spoil a lot. Don’t even get me started on the ones for Archangel.) I was, however, left guessing for much of the book about whether it would be with the Republic of Haven or the Andermani Empire.

It was very hard to read about the political manuverings of the High Ridge government. Sadly, I’m too willing to believe that their actions were plausible. It just turns my stomach to see people behaving in that manner. (Have I mentioned that I get very involved in the books I read?)  Giancola, too. Watching his political machinations, just for personal political gain, drive two governments to war with each other was rough.

A lot of people died. This has happened in other Honor Harrington books, too, but I noticed it more this time around. That gets depressing.

On the whole, the book was enjoyable. Good writing of the sort that Weber does well—consistent science, detailed military encounters, well-written politics, and a larger-than-life Honor.

Now with blog.

So I decided to go and weed my webspace, including cleaning up my pages a bit.  While I was at it, I set up a simple blog, which is what you’re seeing now.  I figure I’ll at least play with it and see how useful it is.  Mostly, I expect it’ll be used for comments on books I’m reading and the inevitable propagation of URLs to stuff I think is interesting.  I also don’t expect to update it all that often, so my website should, on the whole, remain just as boring as ever.


I probably won’t type up most stuff from this weekend, but I figure I’ll add an entry describing my bout of stupidity for later perusal.

This was on Saturday night.  I’d finally decided to wear my loincloth, so that and my boots were all I had on as I headed up to the fire stack.  We were burning a bunch of pallets and I helped several others carry them from their location to the fire area.  When the stack was about halfway done, Rob dumped a bunch of white gas over the fire to prepare it for being lit.

We finished adding pallets.  I put a bit more white gas on, fearing that much of the previous stuff had evaporated, and we were pondering ways to light it.  Troy was going to use a fire staff, but I said I’d light it myself.  I failed to remember the volatility of white gas, thinking of the manner in which kerosene-soaked fires light.

Troy handed me his lighter.  I went to the fire, crouched down, and extended my right arm, placing the lighter up to the piece of wood that was sticking out most from the fire.

I then remember three distinct things.  All of a sudden, there was fire all in front of me—the vapors in the air had ignited—and my sole thought was, “Away!” I pushed myself away from the fire and it followed me as I moved backwards.  The next thing I remember is lying on the ground on my back, some distance from the fire.

Several people came over to me and asked very anxiously, “Are you okay?” I mentally checked myself, realized that my whole right side was hurting in a manner that suggested it had been burned and said, “No.  Is there a wet towel?” There wasn’t, but Rob and someone else got jugs of water, which we proceeded to pour over my body to cool it off.

(I was later informed that several of the women, among them Suz, Amy, and Christie, found the sight of people pouring water over my loincloth-clad body while backlit by the fire very sexy.)

I talked with someone about first aid stuff in the area, concluded that there wasn’t any in the immediate vicinity, and set out with Suz toward my tent, with my first aid kit and its burn cream.  We got down there, I got out the kit, opened it, and dumped out everything.  I barely wanted to use my hands, because flexing my fingers hurt.  Sean (Burning Sean) cut open the burn cream packets and I applied them to the places I felt most burned.  Suz then used Sean’s spray Bactine over everywhere I felt burned at all.  I noticed that I had at least one blister on my left index finger, and it had already burst.  I felt like my lips were blistering and had Suz (and, later, other people) check it, but everyone said it looked okay, just red and swollen.

After finishing the initial first aid, I felt my body feeling a lot weaker and realized that the adrenaline had just worn off, and said as much to Suz, as I sat down.  When the dizziness and nausea continued, I realized that my body was starting to go into shock, so I went and lay down on the bench of one of the picnic tables.  I kept babbling to Suz and Rob and Troy, who were there by then, just to make sure I stayed conscious and had something to focus on.  Rob and Troy dressed the blister on my finger while I lay there.

At this point my memories blur together a bit.  I remember seeing the bright orange glow from the fire reflected off the trees around me.  I remember getting up and walking with Suz to see the thing (it was very big and very bright).  I remember apologizing to Suz for being hurt and worrying her and for her having to essentially ranger me.  At some point, Rob, Suz, and Troy left while Jill arrived.  I recall having Jill check my forehead temperature, which was closer to normal when she checked than when Rob and Suz had (so I was coming out of shock).

That’s most of the tale.  After that, I tried going back up to the fire, but even at a distance the heat was causing my burns to hurt more, so I went back down.  I sat around for a bit, just breathing and half-meditating to lessen the pain.  Other people showed up, and I talked with them.  As the night progressed, the burns hurt less and less, and after a number of hours (four or five?) I could wear a shirt without it hurting too much.  A bit after that, I went to sleep, which my body gladly welcomed.

Post-PDF Dump

Originally from an email sent to the baltwash-burning mailing list:

I typed all of this up for my diary then figured I might as well send out to the list (with some of the more personal bits removed—sorry).

§ Who Needs Friendster?

As a result of being at PDF, I’m now very used to walking anywhere and running into friends.  Now, of course, I expect this to extend into the rest of the world, so I keep catching glimpses of people and I get all hopeful for a moment or two.  “Is that Dale over there?” “Hey, that looks like Sean!” “Red hair, hey it’s Suz!  Oh, just a red hat.” Of course, at PDF, I almost goose–er, said, “Hi, Rob” to several people in orange hats.

§ Miscellaneous Things I Liked

I love my tent.  I stayed nice and dry, at least when I was in it, and all my gear remained dry and mud free, despite the location of the tent in a river of mud.  (It’s a Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight CD.  Only really sleeps one person with gear, but it works quite well for just me.)

Rob’s radio station rocked.  If I didn’t like the current music, I could just pop in the earphones and listen to something I liked, especially if Rob or Dale was spinning at the time.

§ Main Burn

The main burn was beautiful.  Declan got a great shot of it, too.

Once it was going well, I liked the view from the side, with the internal red glow coming through the gaps between the still-unburnt logs on the outside.  And the fire team did an excellent job just getting it lit in the first place.

The wet ground was conducive to the “spin white gas onto the ground at your feet then light it” effect, though I was successful in not emulating Sean.  (i.e. I didn’t set the fuel dump on fire.)

I like Alex’s (dancingmantis) poi.  Three wicks, short, long life even with white gas, and metal rings for handles to facilitate movement of the poi.  Now I need to make a set of my own like that.  I think I’ll work on my planned single wick monkey fist poi first, though.

I did burn myself with Alex’s poi, though.  (I wasn’t quite familiar enough with the handles to have attempted an over-the-head thread the needle.)  It’s probably the worst burn I’ve had from poi (some blistering, which mostly subsided by morning) and also the most fun I’ve had burning myself.  :)

Helping quadgirl lose her fire virginity was fun.  And she looked good with the staff, too.

There was one particular woman spinning that had a very beautiful spinning style.  I didn’t get to talk to her afterwards and see who she was, though.  (Too much other stuff going on.)

§ Dress Day

Many thanks to Tanya for lending me her pink wig, pink lipstick, and glitter on Saturday.  They all went well with my pink dress and pink umbrella.

§ Iron Chef

Once again, PDF Iron Chef was a blast.  Many thanks to Leah for running it a second time.  This time around it was vegans versus carnivores, with a theme ingredient of tofu.  The vegans managed to win over the judges (even though the carnivores had sushi with eel; I mean, eel sushi, c’mon :) ).  I wish I’d been able to taste more of the dishes.  (In particular the vegans’ oatmeal-fruit-tofu pie looked very good.)  I was busy making sure things were coordinated (or micromanaging, depending on how you look at it) and by the time I got to taste the food, most of it had been eaten.  But the vegans added more tofu to their curry, Magorn had a lot of chicken dish and sauce, and Suz saved me a piece of sushi.  So I had some things, which was an improvement over last year.

§ Theme Camps

The Gold Bar was again fun.  I like just hanging out there, talking to Whiskey and company, and chatting with people as they drop by.  It’s too bad they were down a couple of people (having a baby right before PDF, how silly :) ) and that they packed up early and left on Saturday.

I was also sad to see Dale and Sara leaving Saturday evening.  And while I’m missing people, I was disappointed not to see Alicia or Laura there.  Silly people, moving away from Baltimore.  :)

Primal Fred was fun, though a bit distant.  Jill’s body shot bar looked fun for those participating.  Not really my thing, though.  I’m too private a person (and too shy) to do body shots in public.

I think I’ll camp in the general camping area next PDF.  While I liked the theme camps, it’s a good hike to get out there.  And they can be loud (especially the DJ who set up across the way from Psychedelic Shamans; I probably should have tried to talk to him, but I was far too tired, even if I couldn’t actually sleep very well through the loudness).  I also like hanging out in the pavilion, which is really the hub of PDF.

§ Everything Else

There were so many other things I loved about this burn.  You’re all wonderful people and I’ll see you at the next one!