New Mexico Open 2008

Another September, another New Mexico Open, another day getting beat around by fencers half my age who train twice as much as I do (or at least actually train).

Not entirely true. I got beat by people who probably were within a few years of my age.

It all began at 6:00 this morning with my alarm going off, so I could make the 8:30 close of registration for Senior Foil at the venue at UNM. There's kind of an unspoken agreement among fencers at any given competition to not all show up two minutes before the registration closes, so that the competition can get underway in a timely fashion. I had time to stop off at Satellite Coffee (for some actual half-caffeinated coffee) and still make it with plenty of time to get my gear together and warm up.

And it was a beautiful drive, getting on the road in the barest light, and watching as the sun rose over the Sangres, then the Sandias jlajfladjflkjsa;lkjfl;akdsjflaksdj. Sorry. Just dozed off on the keyboard there. I didn't need my sunglasses until I exited in Albuquerque.

Did as well as I ever do, getting eliminated in the first round of direct elimination. But my last bout in the pools and that one in the direct elimination were good bouts, feeling good and pushing some.

Left me time to run some errands in town and still make it home at a respectable time.

Photo above is my teammate Tony (right). NMFF's coach is in Budapest with a couple of our nationally top-ranked kids for the Cadet World Cup.


Santa Fe Convention Center

Turns out today was the public opening of the new Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Stopped by the festivities on the way home after work to check it out.


Most of the rooms were open for everyone to just kind of check out. And all the companies on the approved catering list were there serving snacks.

I'd been watching the building come together over the past couple years, it's right across the street from my office. It's a lot less massive than I'd feared, actually some pretty nice street frontage. And while I'm not sure of the need for a convention center in a town of around 70,000 with no major airport, in this day of increased travel cost and improving communications technology, the building's pretty nice, well thought-out, "Santa Fe Style" without being overdone.

Part of the plan is for it to really be a community center, accessible for local organizations and events. I guess there's some question if it will really be affordable and practical. But looking at it today, it's nice to hope.


The Finest Technology of the 1950s

So, then, we finally got around to getting that TV aerial that we picked up last year installed. Now we can, y'know, receive the major networks. Just in time to actually see the new season of Heroes. Which actually may not be good thing.


Ren Fest!


Finally, Santa Fe got its own renaissance fair. It may be no Maryland, but it was a fun way to pass a nice afternoon outside at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas.

All You Can Eat — ArtFest 2008


As you may have noticed in the post below, we spent yesterday at All You Can Eat — ArtFest 2008 at Warehouse 21, marking the third straight weekend we've hung out at the new Railyard.

One of Monica's co-workers was an organizer of the event, held in conjunction with High Mayhem, so we got a table for 7000 BC. Pete came up from Abq to help us out — which turned out to be pretty crucial, since we needed his pickup to haul around the tables and tent we borrowed, as well as the piles of books and stuff.

Event setup was any time after 10:00, starting at noon, right when the Farmers Market ended. We figured that, this being Santa Fe, there would be no rush. So, we had breakfast, visited, and headed over around 11:00. And were the second-to-last vendors there.

There was a fair crowd there, so we set up as quickly as we could. And then had to move our table and tent (and those of the rest of our row's) around a bit, but got it all together. Jamie showed up and spent the day there. We had some respectable traffic, a good time visiting; things were tapering off by around 4:00, around the same time the sky was looking threatening. Most of the other vendors were packed up or packing up by then, so we stuck around until about 5:00. Pete had to get home, but we had Jamie over for the evening; a little sitting by the fire, a little grilled salmon.

And Monica already pointed out the best shirt, but I got a photo of my favorite graphic seen all day:

On the door of a pickup truck that was parked kind of in an area that would lead you to believe it had to do with one of the events going on. A smart guy might've found someone to ask about it.


aliens for Obama

Best t-shirt seen today at ArtFeast.



It be Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye scurvy dogs.

Iron Morgan Kidd


Beginner Epee Tournament

Tonight, NMFF hosted a tournament for beginning epee fencers from our club and from Santa Fe Prep.

A dozen competitors, four from our club, a couple hours of bouts. Two students from the class I help teach (on the left) took first and second.


A Few From the Weekend

There's been a bit of a nasty head cold going around the house here, knocking us each out for a couple days. Wasn't at 100% over the weekend, but did manage to get out some on Saturday.

Stacy (well, actually Rula) was broadcasting her show live from the big opening of the Railyard, with guest host Laurell.


Then we ducked down to Albuquerque to help Pete out at the 7000 BC table at the Wordstock festival, the first one since the one we did several years back. Arrived just in time for the Haiku HooHa.


Saturday in Santa Fe

A late start out on Saturday morning due to homemade cinnamon rolls, but we got on our bikes to visit the Farmers Market on its first Saturday in its new permanent home at the Railyard.


Huge. More than 100 vendors there, along the tracks, in a space out back, and inside in the main hall. And packed with people. I'd kind of hoped that now that the Market has a permanent, dedicated space, they'd extend the hours past noon, but I suspect it has more to do the the farmers' schedules. But after we picked up some tomatoes, basil, and chiles and were leaving as it was closing down, there were still crowds and shoppers arriving.


I'd been reading some about Man On Wire, at DesignObserver and the NYT, but when one of the producers was a guest on the Radio Café, she really made it sound like fun. We'd had thoughts of going over the long weekend, but it never worked out. Stacy mentioned something else we wanted to see at CCA, so caught it last night.

Really lives up to — and deserves the hype. You know how it's going to go, you know how it ends, even the spoilers in the articles I linked to (oops, sorry I didn't warn) can't ruin it. The whole idea of making it like a heist movie is a little gimmicky, the reenactments aren't intrusive. But the climax is just extraordinary; it's so much fun getting there, and then the actual moment is so powerful and beautiful, and the effect it has on everyone involved is truly moving.


And then we walked over to the gallery next to the theatre for the opening of the Love Armor Project. Stacy's mom Bernice has been working as one of the finishers for almost a year, bringing together pieces that had been knitted all over the world to form a "Humvee cozy."


Bernice, second from right, with other participants and the organizers.


¡Que Viva la Fiesta!

Yesterday morning around 10:00, I started hearing mariachi outside my office window. Fiesta was already in full swing on the Plaza.


la Bajada

Postcard, c. 1920

On Back:
"La Bajada" is Spanish for "The Descent" or "The Drop," and descent or drop it certainly is, for it is a drop of about 800 feet from the rim of the mesa to the foot of the hill, which makes a drop of about 1,000 feet to the lowland. The road, one and a half miles long, is one of the marvels of road building in America, for it is cut out of volcanic lava in the face of an almost sheer precipice. It has 23 hair-pin turns, some of them having a very steep grade. In spite of all this, the road is perfectly safe, as all the turns are widened to accommodate the largest automobiles, and those that might prove dangerous have stone retaining walls on the outside to prevent cars going off the road and down the cliff. The trip up or down La Bajada is always remembered by those going to or from the Pacific Coast over the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway.

[click for larger]

Our friend James kindly indulged us (me) in a quest to see the famous "descent." After successfully navigating down the "23 hair-pin turns" in his Land Cruiser, we tried (unsuccessfully — most likely on private and/or Cochiti Pueblo lands) to find the remains of a ghost town at the foot of the hill.

Dinner and drinks later at James's place, with his heeler-mix, Shadow.

…and the rest of the goings-on

Last weekend, we were off for 7000 BC's annual appearance at the Bubonicon sci-fi show. Headed to Abq after work on Friday (avoiding most of the Indian Market madness) to meet up with the group for dinner, then stayed with Paul and Beth. Up Saturday morning to some strata that we'd brought along, then to the show.

Traffic was undeniably lighter; a fellow bookseller noted that "it is a down economy, and we are selling a luxury," but things picked up and we ended roughly comparable to last year. A big hit was the "40 Rats" illustration we did on Saturday; Bubonicon's mascot is a rat, and in honor of the show's 40th year, the dozen-or-so members who were there created a big illustration (live!) and raffled it off, with proceeds going to Bubonicon's charities. The winner got himself drawn as the 40th rat.

The show was a blur, but as always, a great time. But we grabbed a late dinner, and had to head back home Saturday night, because…

I was up bright and early for a fencing clinic at NMFF on Sunday; our coach's former coach from Northern Colorado Fencers was around to teach a couple days of foil. Already committed to Bubonicon, I could only do one day; Sunday seemed to offer the most for me.

And it was pretty great. Two days probably would've been better, but I think my brain was pretty well filled with tactics and techniques from the just the one day. Plus, my knee — ordinarily prone to soreness and sensitive to overuse — was giving me a fair amount of trouble during the morning's intense workout.

Of course, the trick is always remembering what you learned and how to apply it. Unfortunately (though luckily for my healing), the club was pretty much shut down for the following week for our annual maintenance/repainting.

This past Friday, our friend (and collaborator) Jamie had his usual end-of-summer gallery show opening.

His work, as always, looks incredible. It looks like he's experimenting some with new techniques, and he used the additional wall space he got this year to work even larger-scale.

Saturday was a day of chores, but we did head out to a late anniversary dinner at Max's, a wonderful time that lived up to its review. Our actual anniversary weekend, we were over at Stacy and Jim's for a big Thai dinner and catching up — and working out the last details for Jim's new Web site that Monica's reworked, making it easy for them to update with new pieces and organize by category.

Weather-wise, it's been an odd couple days, cooler than usual and much wetter. Yesterday's la Bajada trip started off in, and was accompanied by, occasional light rain, which gave way to pretty steady rainfall by the time we were supposed to be grilling outside. Today started off all Seattle again, and though it's given way to sun, it's still unseasonably cool out.

We're thinking of making ribs for dinner tonight.