Sep 3, 2008

Pictures at an Exhibition

For the last two days now as my mind has wandered back through the incredible events of the weekend, this phrase - this title - has run through my head. Pictures at an Exhibition. I am not sure that I have yet discovered the why of this. But perhaps as I write to you now, we will unearth the reasoning together.

So I have a little time to write as the woman you have all now met - the woman who animates me - is taking a break from the mind-numbing work of project documentation. The first thing I did was to Google the phrase above. I know the music well, but it's history was unknown to me. (I have the music playing in the background at the moment by the way.)

Modeste Mussorgsky created his Pictures at an Exhibition to perpetuate the memory of a friend, Victor Hartmann, who was an architect and painter. There does seem to be a drive that humans have to memorialize people, events, places. Some grand. Some simple. Mussorgsky was an ardent Russian nationalist, but he was far more interested in folk art than in the grandiose ornamental designs of the aristocracy. (Or, as Tchaikovsky put it, “He likes what is coarse, unpolished and ugly.”)

How odd for me, a member of Caledon's aristocracy, to find some level of inspiration in the music of a composer such as this. Perhaps not. I enjoy the simple things of life - often much more than the complex. ~Being loved and loving, caring for and playing with my children, a good book, walking through the snow on a clear winter night hand-in-hand with my beloved -the silence surrounding us, friendships - new and old.~ I have ever tried to be first and foremost a good citizen of Caledon (of any world, I occupy).

And what was this first CaleCon weekend about if not about inclusion - of learning about one another and our alternate selves. Our real selves. Putting the themed role play off of center stage. Discovering the motivating factors that lead us in world in the first place, that forged the path to Caledon. Those things that keep us there (at least as a place to belong in a world filled with exploration).

What is the common denominator? What bonds us all together as a community?

I believe we discovered that and more. So much more. And we did not desire this to be the experience only of those who were able to attend a convention in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Nay! We wanted to be able to share that with all of Caledon: Guvnahs, Shipwrights, Chivalric Groups, Pilots, Peers, Shop Keepers....all citizens of the Realm.

This is why it was so important to me, and to the CaleCon Planning committee, to be able to offer video and audio streams of some of the events. It is also why I hope to blog in some detail over the course of the next several days now that my human is home and is ready to assist in this process. (Side note - we all did discuss at our first meeting the pros and cons of revealing our human selves to the greater world at large. Some desire to remain more mysterious than others. These wishes are entirely respected and protected. So if you did not, and do not, see pictures, videos, or hear audio of some of our inaugural group, do not ask for them. They will not be shared.)

So maybe we should start with some of those pictures and I will fill in some details as I can.

A welcome sight indeed after 10 hours on the road.

The group agrees that the Stone Willow Inn in St. Mary's, Ontario did a nice job accommodating our group despite a few issues with the net connection (particularly in my suite *shrugs*). However, there were two staff that particularly assisted us with the internet issues and a few other items. Brian, in particular, went above and beyond the call of duty several times and assisted us while keeping such great good humor about him, that our group determined to let him know how very much we appreciated his efforts.
Brian - we hope that you got our note and our gifts of thanks! And perhaps you'll join us in Caledon some day soon. :-)

(yes - I know you've seen this pic before if you read this blog regularly..but it's a good one)
The first grand surprise of the night: getting to know each other better as our human selves.

I really did enjoy having everyone gather in my suite for cocktails. The surprises -the revelations great and small - were such treats for everyone. What an experience!
In the morning we all gathered outside on the patio for breakfast and conversation. Happily, Desmond was able to join us for a little over an hour via phone and skype. It was fantastic to be able to share part of our experience with the man who is the beginning of our nation - who is the heart and who allows us to be the body. Everyone laughed and shared experiences with him and each other as he did with us. What a treat!

The four of us engaged in that age-old SL and RL activity while the others of our group went to Taming of the Shrew in town. Shopping!! Soliel and I got some nice additions to our closet, too.
Here we are at the Down the Street Pub for a late lunch.

We went to a fantastic tea tasting prior to returning to the hotel, but I will blog about that in great detail tomorrow. What an experience as we tried a variety of black, green, white, and blended teas with one of fourteen certified Tea Sommoliers in the world as the clock struck 4:00pm.

By the way - never, NEVER go AFK when I'm around. Not even in Real Life. I have large cocks in my inventory at all times. *rolls eyes* No - CHICKENS, you naughty things. NOT Xcite attachments. Hrumph!

After these three "woke up" we headed back to the Stone Willow to rest up, clean up, dress up and prepare for the Dinner/Dance with music and video simulcast. I sincerely hope you were able to be part of it!

I am working on editing a couple hours of footage from the whole of the weekend. But a few screen shots from the simulcast may be found at Hibernia on the Skids.

Other blogs with CaleCon posts:
The New Observer
Meet the Petermans
Musings By Happenstance

Please send me other URLs if you are aware of any containing posts related to/about CaleCon.

Future CaleCon posts planned for this site:

  • Tea Time
  • The Big Party - stepping through the looking glass
  • Workshops - Listening, Learning, Doing
  • Pub Crawls
  • CaleCon 2 Plans Begin
So perhaps I have discovered a few reasons that the title is an apt one. I think I have also begun to chip away at the answers to those questions. Even at Day One the participants began to have an understanding about our similarities and our shared experiences which have brought us together as a community.

more to come...