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March Wrap-Up

February was rough, no two ways about it. It usually is; the weather in New England tends to be at its coldest, and for some reason they give the kids a week off from school. We got through it, and then through the anniversary of Everything Changing. It’s definitely weighing on folks; after a year-plus, I think we’re all just exhausted. 

However. Here we are near the end of March, and things are looking up. Vaccination rates are getting better. The weather has improved, which means I can go running again. My goal for the month was to get back up to three miles at least a few times a week, which goal I passed handily. I’ve started planning this year’s container garden. Got outside a couple of times.

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Halibut Point

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arthurian literature

Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur Book 3 – The Round Table

In Book 3 we get back to what most people would think of as “core” King Arthur:  the founding of the Round Table. Arthur has won his early wars, and everything is going fine, but his barons are on his case about getting married; possibly they don’t want another Uther situation, and the kingdom without an heir. Arthur has his heart set on Guenever, daughter of King Leodegrance (whom Arthur and his Continental allies delivered from a siege back in Book 1). Despite Merlin’s warning that she won’t be faithful, Arthur’s mind is made up.

There are several versions out there of where the actual Round Table came from; in this one, it belongs to Leodegrance, who was given it by Uther and now gives it (back) to Arthur as a wedding gift along with 100 knights. The Round Table seats 150, so Merlin goes out looking for 50 more to make up the shortfall, but he can only find 28. Every seat has a name except two, so we are left looking for 20 knights as the wedding festivities start.

Malory loves numbers.

The only one actually added to the Round Table here is Pellinor, but two other notable knights are created at the same time: Sir Tor, putative son of a cowherd, actually son of Pellinor, who raped his mom, and Sir Gawaine, already plotting revenge against that same Pellinor on account of having killed his father Lot.

There follows the wedding, and the Adventure of the White Hart. Gawaine, Tor, and Pellinor are each assigned a quest by Merlin to bring back a white hart, a dog and a knight, and a lady and another knight, respectively.

Gawaine’s quest doesn’t go well at all (he comes off terribly in Malory as a rule; I always have to go and reread The Green Knight afterward). He fails to show mercy when he should have, and accidentally kills a lady, and is thereafter required to be particularly solicitous of them in his future career. Tor has a nice successful little adventure, which is as a consequence rather dull.

Pellinor’s adventure is complicated, and his overall success is marred because at its outset he ignores a woman crying for help for her wounded lover, and both of them die. Merlin later tells Pellinor that the woman was his own daughter (Pellinor has more random kids than anyone else in this book), and Pellinor will be betrayed by someone he trusts as a result.

Arthur hands around some post-nuptial largesse. All of the knights promise not to do murder or treason or cruelty, to be merciful, to always protect ladies, and not to take part in wrongful quarrels. They frequently fail in these promises in the books to follow, especially that last one, and while there are kinda-sorta consequences sometimes, there isn’t a strong moral flavor to most of these tales (except the Grail quest, which is quite a different animal from the rest of them).

reading

6. Agile for Everybody

I still have one more Christmas gift to read, but we’re discussing this in a book club this week, so I needed to make sure I read it in time. This is a short book, and I think a useful one. It does a decent job of distilling the guiding principles that unite agile methods. I would buy a copy for people who are either dubious about the whole concept, or for those who have decided that their chosen methodology is magic, and the work ends with picking it out. It could have dug deeper into some of the topics, but probably at the expense of being inviting to its audience.

photo posts

Spring Signs

It was deliriously warm at the end of this week, and we all spent some time outside. Winter isn’t over by a long shot, but the turn is near at hand.

It’s been a year now since we all got sent home from work and school, wondering what would happen next. This spring is less apprehensive and more hopeful than the last one.