This evening was the annual Burns Supper hosted by H.A.G.G.I.S. We try to attend every year as it’s a fun evening of food, friends and dancing. And like every year, I went elsewhere for my meal, but came back for dessert and dancing. I have tried haggis once and that was an experience that needs no repetition[1]You can basically think of haggis as soupy, liver-flavored oatmeal. I don’t like my oatmeal soupy and just the smell of liver causes me to lose my appetite.. I should mention that the desserts are not part of the catered meal, rather they are all brought by attendees of the supper as a contest to see who can make the best dessert, most traditional and who has the best presentation.

As my wife and I enjoy desserts and there were a couple of trifle recipes we wanted to try out; we decided to both enter this year. Her trifle was based on a black forest cake while mine was a mixture of blackberries, angel food cake and cheesecake pudding. By the I got back to the supper from having real food. the dessert table had been decimated. There was a tiny bit of my wife’s dessert left and only a spoonful of the gooey bits of mine. I ate that little bit of dessert and then had to excuse myself momentarily[2]I think my fettuccine Alfredo didn’t entirely agree with my guts even if it did agree with my tastebuds.. I was just heading back to the hall; when a friend came and got me, telling me that my dessert had won an award.

I have to say, there’s nothing quite like walking into a room full of people all clapping for you. It’s a lovely ego boost and that was my pleasant surprise.


1 You can basically think of haggis as soupy, liver-flavored oatmeal. I don’t like my oatmeal soupy and just the smell of liver causes me to lose my appetite.
2 I think my fettuccine Alfredo didn’t entirely agree with my guts even if it did agree with my tastebuds.
Robert Burns, Scottish Poet

Ariesna and I just got back from our local Burns Supper. For those of you not entirely up on your Scottish culture, this meal is held in honor of Robert Burns. To quote the BBC:

The Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish life, a night to celebrate the life and genius of the national Bard. Suppers can be everything from an informal gathering of friends to a huge, formal dinner full of pomp and circumstance.

The Burns Supper we attend is put on by our local scottish heritage society, HAGGIS. It is a friendly gathering with bagpipe music, dancing and much fellowship1. Some years are more formal than others, this year it was a bit more relaxed. Two of the toasts were given by members of Wylde Nept. One of those was the toast to the lassies and it was a lovely bit of poetry that he came up with. Poetry just filled with imagery, graphic imagery. If you’ve ever been to one of their performances or heard some of their recordings; you’ll know exactly what sort of imagery. *wink, wink*2 The deserts at the supper were quite good.

Wait a minute, why am I talking about desert and not about the haggis? Well, I tried haggis the first year I attended the Burns Supper…. Now I tend go to the nearby Czech Village Restaurant and enjoy a different nationality’s speciality cooking. Though I understand this year’s haggis was supposed to be good…. If you like that sort of thing. Anyhoo, myself and a few others who enjoy aspects of the Burns Supper other than the haggis headed to the Czech Village Restaurant where we had a lovely meal. Then we hurried back to the Burns Supper, got a bit of the deserts (which as previously mentioned were quite good) and listened to the toasts (also previously mentioned)3. Then there was much dancing and the raffle.

The raffle is one way HAGGIS raises funds for its various good works (a scholarship, grants, etc…). Members of the society donate prizes and you buy raffle tickets for chances to win. They divvy the donations into 3 tables of adult prizes and one just for the kids. The “A” table is where all the scotch goes and any other higher-end items. “B” table items are still nice, but usually not as expensive as “A” and so on for “C”. Additionally, there’s usually one big prize of the night that doesn’t get put out on the “A” table until late in the evening. If you buy about $10 worth of tickets, odds are good that you’ll go home with something though there’s no telling what it’ll be. This year & last, Ariesna & I have plunked down $20 for tickets. Last year, we struck out and didn’t go home with anything at all4. Then this year our tickets were on fire! We won:

  • a tartan blanket
  • a shot glass with the scottish lion on the side
  • a stuffed animal (a small dog holding a heart which says “I Wuf You!”)

And those are only the prizes we kept for ourselves. We also ended up winning tonight’s big prize, a replica of Scottish Claymore5! Since I already had one, we gave with to AWelkin and her husband, both of whom seemed quite interested in it. We also had another “A” table winning ticket which we gave to our friends E&D. They picked themselves up a bottle of scotch. Then the raffle got down to the final prize of the night, a boxed “christmas cake”. We also had the winning ticket for that and Ariesna tried to give it to AWelkin’s friends D&P but they didn’t want it. While Ariesna was doing that, one of the guys (George) from Wylde Nept and run up, claiming the prize. I’m not sure if Ariesna had noticed that but she went up and turned in the ticket. George ran the cake back over to Michelle, dropped to one knee and tried to give the cake to her. She resisted but he was being insistant; so I decided to come to her rescue. I walked over and told him that she’s my wife and he can keep the cake. Everybody had a good chuckle and we left for home soon afterwards. 🙂

1 Blathering on with your friends.
2 Nothing too blatant, but very obivous.
3 Yes, I am rambling a bit but then I’ve been sitting near a loudspeaker playing scottish music for the past couple of hours and my brain’s still shaken up a bit.
4 Ok, that’s not strickly true. Last year, our friend Greg was along for the supper. He had to leave sooner than we did and left us his tickets. We won a bottle of wine with his ticket and we’re still holding onto it for him.
5 This is a two-handed sword about 5-6 feet long.

Ladies of the Internet, you missed your chance! By the time you’re reading this, my fiance Ariesna and I will have completed exchanging our wedding vows and will be shoving cake into each other’s faces1. I’ve known that this day was coming up for some time, but it hadn’t really sunk in what was happening until the rehearsal tonight2 at the church. The sun was shining down and flooding the church with light. My groomsmen were following me to the front of the church and would crack into “Whistle While You Work” or something equally silly. We got to the alter area and we waited for the bride’s maids to come up and finally for Ariesna to be walked up my her father. Then we were holding hands and she was staring up into my eyes with this smile that just radiated joy at me. I’m pretty sure the pastor said something or other to us, but I wasn’t really paying attention to him at that point. I did hear something about practicing our kiss and that part went really well. Then it was all over and back to my Mom’s place to finish up a few last minute things before I headed back to the apartment while Ariesna headed down to her parent’s place.

I’m sure that seems horrendously old fashioned but we’re not going to get to see each other until we show up at the church for our day of wedding bliss3. She’ll show up at the church and get changed into some sort of remarkably girly wedding dress that I’ve yet to see. I’ll show up fully outfitted in my kilt. Yup, a kilt. I’ve got some Scottish blood in my veins and over the past couple of years, I’ve become more interested in that side of my ancestry. Back in the early stages of planning these festivities, I decided too get a kilt and wear it at the wedding. Many of my male friends and family have mocked this decision, particularly after learning what the full outfit cost but I think it’s a good investment. Though I do have to wish I’d found those online kilt rental places earlier so I could have the groomsmen in kilts too. Perhaps then they’d not be so quick to make snide remarks about me wearing a “dress”. Oh and that reminds me, I’ve heard and read many a good quip as a reply to what is worn under a kilt. Most of them I just laugh off, but I’ve got one that works for me. When asked by my oldest brother what I planned to wear beneath my kilt; I told him if he really wants to know, he has to buy a ticket from Ariesna to find out. :p

I apologize if this post seems even more rambling than my usual babblings… But I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped. So now I’m off to get some rest; because as you know, if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.

1 Note: I am under a threat of pain of death if I get any cake on her dress; so I’ll probably be all nice and gentle when I feed her that first piece of wedding cake.
2 I’m writing this post shortly before midnight on Friday, 6 May 2005 but I’m going to change the date/time of the post so that it doesn’t appear until the wedding ceremony has begun. I may get my past/present/future tenses a bit mixed up because of this, but you’ll just have to cope with that.
3 And yes, we’ve already heard many, many, MANY times about the lady from Georgia who had her break down and ran away to Alberqueque. Rest assured safe guards are in place so we won’t be kidnapped and so that neither one of us goes any further insane than we already are. Thank you for being the 900th idjit to make that joke to us.

I got my photos back from the film processing lab today and most of them turned out pretty good. Unfortunately, even with my telephoto lens I was too far away for the eagle pictures to turn out really well. You can sort of make out the eagle in a few of the shots, but not enough to make blowing them up worth while. *grumpf* On the bright side, some of the arty pictures turned out acceptably. Now I just have to scan in the best ones for my gallery (and enlargements made for Iwahara-san & Keki-san). I paid the extra cost on the photos to have them go through the Kodak processing instead of the normal Hy-Vee stuff and am I ever glad I did. The last couple of times I sent photos through just Hy-Vee; they came back looking like crap. The photos this time came back looking pretty much like what I saw when I took them (a few were a bit off, but I’m sure that’s my fault).

Oh and the other thing that happened today? I got my kilt & jacket in the mail, complete with the invoice. *urk* The kilt & jacket look great but the invoice is kind of scary. I could pay it off right now from my savings, but I like having a bit of a buffer in there and this would nearly wipe that out. *sigh* I’ve really got to learn to stop spending so much money. Ah well, this is all in a good cause but more info on that will appear on this site in due course. 😀

Update: For the curious, I bought my kilt through the Scots Dragon and the tartan for my kilt is Graham of Menteith.

Before this horrid bit of legislation got passed; I was against it because I knew it was only a matter of time until the government was going to abuse it. Then like many people, I got distracted by my own life and forgot about it for a while because nothing was happening with it that affected me. Today, I happened across a link to Ian Spiers’ Brown Equal Terrorist website. The crap that Mr. Spiers had to go through is unfortunately all too believable and to me just proves that the USA PATRIOT Act should have never been passed.

The USA PATRIOT Act is an abusive law that gives the government excessive powers and as should have been expected by our representatives it was abused to harass an innocent U.S. citizen. Why was he harassed? Because there are still petty & shallow minded [insert explictive of your choice here] out there that think if you’re not a good, clean white-boy then you must be up to no-good.

Oh and for the record:

  • I am a white guy (part Scottish even).
  • I like to think of myself as an amatuer photographer and have taken courses at my local community college.
  • I carry a camera with me everywhere I go, but don’t take as many pictures as I’d like because I have nasty suspicions that somebody’s going to get the wrong idea of what I’m doing.