Gentle Readers,

Today's Pallas Armata class was looking at chapter 13. The play was to draw an attack, parry and stringer, then when the attacker withdraws and cavers to attack, parry and stringer to the other side and use the gained distance to allow for a fast riposte. We did this through several rotations, looking at new things to focus on from good distance to posture to making sure that you are doing a good recovery.

We also looked at gaining the blade with a stringer when your partner is refusing contact by using a finda to make them commit with a parry and then cavering to stringer. Next week we will do this as a decision drill where if they do not take the bait, you finish your attack.
Gentle Readers,

This weekend I was encouraged by HerRH to go to Winter War. I didn't especially want to go. It's in London and thus a ridiculous amount of driving for an event where the organizers seem to push the boundaries of minimum effort every year. For example, this year "feast" was "we'll have some take out and delivery menus at gate but you have to book space to sit and eat." They did eventually consent to providing dinner to the royalty from those same sources, but had to call for volunteers to plate it. The gentleman running rapier was an exception as he spent a great deal of energy to make sure that his fencing scenarios were interesting and provided plenty of fencing for everyone. I would have done it differently but it wasn't bad.

So the thing that convinced me to go was that HerRH had invited out of kingdom fencers, MoDs in particular. They seemed to be there to help give an outside perspective on our fencers and I think it really behooved me to be there.

So I went and the event was exactly what I expected. I ended up getting far less fencing in than I expected sure to a combination of obligations (EAOD stuff and running an authorisation for HisRH) and physiology (I had a blood sugar crash, more about that later). But I did get to play with some of our visitors and they were delightful.

I learned several things about my fencing.

First, my offline movement is terrible. I'm doing a terrible job at getting off the line and it's resulting in my getting stabbed as I try and move into distance our try and control the space and move in to attack.

Next, my sense of distance and my opponents reach is actually pretty good. Once I realized that one of my opponents was using a 45" blade and not 42", he was no longer able to sneak into distance.

My armor new armor is comfortable and moves well except for one minor flaw. The back plate on the helmet locks down into the ruff and prevents it from moving with my head. This sucks a lot and needs to be fixed. Right now I'm thinking articulated lames.

Finally, if your DOMS takes about 2 days, perhaps you shouldn't be surprised when your arms and shoulders hurt if you did a kickboxing class two days before the event.

As for the blood sugar thing. Well. I'm not sure the cause, but by mud morning my blood sugar was sub-optimal. My body just stopped responding the way I wanted. My hands were shaking and I was feeling fuzzy. It took me a bit to get realigned.

My endocrine system managed to get it's shit together, but my body continued to act weird.

As a result of not having to drive, I had the opportunity to go to a BBQ restaurant. I don't know what caused it, it certainly wasn't the alcohol but I just felt physically drunk for the rest of the evening. It was a very strange feeling and lasted until the wee hours. I ate the remaining leftovers on the morning and it didn't reoccur. I'm going to have to pay attention to see if it happens again.
Gentle readers,

I'm still seeing some of the commentary about the SCA kerfuffle that's keeping me off of Facebook. There are still some good ideas floating about but they are mired in such ridiculousness that it's hard to take them seriously.

Take for example the essay I read today. His basic idea: firewall the Masters at Arms and the Chiv and open the masters up to other martial arts, is not bad. But the he started his essay off with such purple prose that it was really hard to take it seriously. The biggest one being the concept that his SCA title is outranked by his mundane one.

I find this ridiculous on so many fronts. For starters, I'm pretty sure he's not minor nobility in the real world, so there's that. Both titles are made up and assigned by an organization as a recognition of some actual accomplishment. But it's still like saying a PhD out ranks a Barony. It's just a nonsensical thing to say.

I don't mean to imply that this gentle is putting on airs or anything like that. He worked hard for all of his recognition. However, I just feel like this kind of florid, over the top prose undercuts what is not a horrible thesis.

That being said, I don't see his suggestion getting any traction as there are enough Masters at Arms who would likely see this as a degradation of their award, something that they worked just as hard for as the Chiv did. Again, as mentioned above, it's still all pretend, but some people take their pretend pretty seriously. I mean, look at how people feel about Mayors.
Gentle Readers,

I've been waiting for September to finish. Unfortunately for me, it's proceeded much like August with far too much going wrong for stupid reasons. Mostly, this was people who just did not give enough thought to the things they were doing and had to redo them. I should probably count myself in that category. This is not to say that there were no wonderful moments. However, these moment tended to just work to highlight the bad stuff and make it seem more frustrating.

While I am not going to dwell on the negative, I am going to say that far too much of it involves my basement.

The best part of the month happened at Coronation when I was brought into the order of the Cruicible. It's an award that recognizes effort and excellence in skill and knowledge about some aspect of the SCA time period. In my case it was for recognition of my study of the historical European martial arts. I was even told by the people involved that there was a bit of a scuffle over who would give and how I would get the award. It was really nice to hear that and to be told that I looked like a woodcut. It's always nice to be recognized for something you believe you do well.

I had great hopes that October would be nicer. It started off pretty well with things slowing down a bit at work and with the customer interactions I was doing going very positively. We headed off to an event yesterday and while the weather was poor, the archery range was fantastic and both Lydia and I had a lovely time plunking away. I had some great shots at 30 yards. I'm trying to focus on instinctual shooting and it seems to be working well for me. Lydia got to try 2 new things, one a heavier bow, which amazed her in it's ability to shoot in a straight line, and shooting from an elevated platform (which she loved). She was also shooting arrows that were made for her using feathers from Geese she knows and made by someone who is about to take her on as a student. I think it was a really wonderful experience for her.

Yesterday was looking really good too. I was waffling but the bright sunshine convinced me that I needed to get up and head out to Fight for Life, a fundraiser for an AIDS charity that is run by the other big club here in Ottawa. I fought a bunch of people I hadn't played with before and had a great time (although I really need to do some work on the helmet I was wearing. Then, on the last point of my last fight (I had plans to head out to something else), we closed to grappling. My oppoent had me braced against his leg and started a throw. I tried to breakfall and my foot stuck resulting in the my knee bending in ways knees are not supposed to bend.

This was a very strange feeling and the fact that it didn't hurt continues to amaze me.

Everyone was very nice and helpful and the gentleman who did the throw felt awful. but they took me over to a chair and I had a sit for a bit and let things settle. Nothing seemed to be getting worse and so eventually I tried to see if it would take my weight. It did and nothing bad happened so I made my way over to start getting packed up to head out.

I stepped and did a bit of a turn as I was getting my jeans on over my fighting clothes and my knee gave out and I collapsed. It was the weirdest feeling. When I try and describe it, all I can think of is when you are testing a chicken by turning the drumstick and the bone just comes right out. So, at that point it became obvious that a hospital visit was necessary.

The hospital visit was only 5.5 hours which is not too bad given that the in town ones were closer to 9 hours. I'm now in a knee imoblizer until I see a sports physician to get a better diagnosis. It's possible that I may have access to the video of the event by then to be able to show the Dr what happened (and likely leave me dwelling on what it was that I should have been doing).

Anyway,

Dear October,

Consider this a written reprimand. Your older siblings did not leave you a very high bar and you have so far made no attempt to step over it. Trying to crawl under said bar only makes you look bad. I'm not angry, but I am disappointed. I expect things to improve.

Yours etc.
Gentle Readers,

Pennsic was kind of an after thought this year. We weren't planning on going because this was going to be the year we took Lydia to Lithuania. However, what with the potential for unrest in the area we decided that maybe it was not the best time for such a thing so we had the time for Pennsic. I'm still not entirely sure that we made the right choice.

We went early enough for 0 night and that was pretty neat. There was something very cool about walking around an empty Cooper's Lake. It's so much smaller when it's empty.

Last year it was pretty up and down with surprising ups and downs but this year it seemed to be much more even. I had more work to do than I expected as Rapier Champion but I managed to foist off the jobs that I didn't want. I still fought for Her Highness in the Rose Tourney and did pretty middling. That's about what I expected given the quality of fencer I was facing and my level of practice.

I got to go to lots of classes with Lydia which was nice. She learned a bunch of new crafty skills which she is pretty pleased about.

I got to spend time with friends I care about, but not enough. Part of the problem was the dreary weather making things mucky and wet and discouraging travel. The other part of the problem was constant headaches. Right now I'm thinking that those were caused by the unsweetened cold tea in combination with the pressure fronts rolling past. Getting knocked out every afternoon really cuts into your socializing time. They also prevented me from going to the 10th anniversary of the RV Weekend which I was not very happy about.

Most people seemed kind of happy about the colder temperatures but I was disappointed because it meant that the cool summer beers were not as pleasant and I was longing more for darker, heavier beers.

So, to sum up, the good parts of Pennsic were being close to people that I don't get to see nearly enough. The rest was kind of meh. Thankfully that good was very very good.
Gentle Readers,

Some of you may know of the the Red Knight, by Miles Cameron. Miles is a very enthusiastic historical reenactor (in numerous eras) and also an avid practitioner of historical european martial arts. He had a dream that he could bring together both of his passions and show both sides how cool the other is and he did this by hosting a 14th century deed of arms on his cousin's summer estate on the shores of Lake Ontario. Last year was the first one and it was amazing. I had brought Lydia with me and she had a great time.

This year when he announced he was doing it again I was really excited about going and so was Lydia. Even though it was the week before pennsic. Even though it started on the last day of Lydia's time traveller camp.

The best part was that we knew where we were going this time so it didn't take us 4 (my trip last year) or 9 (craig's trip) to find the place. Tent setup went very smoothly and we got a better spot than last year. We were right next to the list field and also had some morning shade.

We settled in well, there was plenty of room for the three of us. We relaxed and socialized and I mentally checked over what we would be needing for Pennsic in a week. Lydia was a little wrecked, partly from being tired and partly because she was decompressing from her first sleepaway camp, but we managed to get her settled.

Things went great until it was time for sleeping at which point we discovered that the tent also had plenty of room for Mosquitoes. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but Lydia has a bit of a phobia thanks to an ill fated camping trip when she was very little. So both of us got very little sleep that first night.

We still managed to get up and dressed and mustered for the morning although thanks to some armour issues I was not in full kit as I had hoped (which reminds me, I really need to make a new pour-point that can hold up my leg armour). Lydia mustered as an archer which was pretty cool, although there don't seem to be any pictures of her having done so.

The first day's fighting went well. Lydia was too wrecked from poor sleep so she chose not to participate, but I did pretty well. The rules were a little hand-wavy. It was more like a gladiatorial combat where the Count and Countess needed to be entertained and pleased by our skill more than our actual success on the list. Thankfully I had both and I was one of the 2 selected for the finals. Many of the others in the deed were primary instructors for their school and the count felt that perhaps they didn't need to prove anything. That being said, both myself and my fellow finalist were secondary instructors.

Aurora and myself fought to best of 3 and it was a wonderful fight. I believe we were quite evenly matched but Craig assures me that I was more dominant in the fight than I thought. In the end, she was the victor with the final point, but I suspect that it could have gone either way, more due to our differences in blow calling (not a criticism, our clubs just have different rules sets). Still, due to our prowess and presentation on the field, the Count chose to award us both the prize, which was pretty cool.

The prizes were medallions crafted by my fellow prizor.

We didn't make it to the youth Archery tournament. But Lydia was able to shoot in the clout and did pretty well given that she was using a 20# bow. I also did pretty well and made it to the second round. Also pretty good given that I was using borrowed arrows. I had no arrows because Craig opened the windows when we were leaving Upper Canada Village to cool off the car and my arrows fell out in their parking lot. I have to head out there at some point soon.

That night was our feast, which while not as epic as I am used to given my SCA experiences was still very competent and delicious. The concert was once again delightful and they sang a number of pieces that I knew. Lydia also enjoyed the music. When the concert was over, we headed to bed, but this time we had mosquito netting thanks to a fellow reenactor making a trip to Canadian Tire.

That made for a much better night.

Due to the previous day's armour failure, I was not able to participate in the full harness fighting, but I was able to sit and watch with Lydia and act as squire for a number of different people who had armour failures that I could help with with the pieces I was not wearing.

With the end of the armoured deed things wound up and we started packing up and made it home in a reasonable time with plenty of memories and excitement for next year.
Gentle Readers,

For some reason this has turned into my SCA and Swordplay blog. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing but I do think it's interesting that this is 1) the only thing I really seem to want to write about long form and 2) I don't really want to put these thoughts in a fully public and more visible place.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the fact that I've been offering classes and presentations and many such things at events for years now and nobody cares. The majority of people involved in anything I do for A&S are people who happen to be standing beside me when I start the class or people who have to actually judge it. I'm no longer interested in presenting information to an audience of none. I love this stuff. I love teaching it. I love talking about it. I love doing it. I don't love being met with indifference. Even hostility would be better as it would be something to push back against.

From now on I'm no longer volunteering classes. If someone asks me a question I'll talk their ear off. If someone asks me to teach on a particular subject I'll be there with bells on (or mail (same thing)). However I'm done preparing a class or presentation, bringing equipment, and going out of my way to do something that does nothing but fill an empty spot in a schedule instead of filling the empty place in peoples' hearts that should be filled with swordplay.
Gentle Readers,

Hey! Remember me?

I'm waiting for some software to update so I figured I'd use this time productively to post something. The last 2 weekends I did kinda the same thing. I did a presentation about the evolution of German singlehanded swordplay first at Kingdom A&S and then at Forward into the Past. In both cases it went really well.

At A&S I was presenting to judges. I got immediate feedback but it was all "You did great. I have no suggestions for how you could be better." While this was nice, it was also little frustrating for 2 reasons. Firstly I wanted some feedback so I could improve for when I was presenting to the public at FITP. Given that there were people who were very active in presentation and public speaking judging me I was really expecting something a bit more critical. The second thing was that given the lack of criticism I was quite disappointed that I did not win my category. Given that they saw nothing wrong its hard to know what to do better. A tiny part of me wishes I had judged one of my peers more harshly since he was the one who beat me (conflict of interest? HA!).

The following weekend did the same presentation at FITP and there I had an actual classroom with a projector for the slides as well as a target to poke with the swords. Overall things went really well there. I had no technical issues. The biggest problem was the audience. It was all young men, some in trench coats, some with neck beards (ok, plus my one awesome friend). Having been one of them (well, without the neck beard), I understand their reaction but the fact that no one (but my friend) laughed at my jokes really disappointed me. Even the Longsword/d8 joke fell flat. The only thing that got a chuckle out of them was when I said it was ok to laugh at my jokes.

A couple of them seemed incapable of expressing enjoyment of any sort and glared at me through the entire presentation.

Very strange.

Thankfully though the feedback was good with no complaints so, they did like it even if they weren't capable of expressing that.

I'm not sure if I managed to learn anything from this other than perhaps that I need better jokes.
Gentle Readers,

Its a relaxing Sunday, the first weekend of March and everyone else in the house is asleep. All 3 of them. I'm not talking about Reyl, he's off in Montreal. We've got a new addition in the house.

His name is Shadow and he's an 8 year old Great Pyranese. He's absolutely lovely. His temperament is just fantastic and he seems to have integrated himself into the house quite well.

Shadow and Lydia, taking a ride.

This is his first week with us. Thankfully no one seems to be allergic which is good, although we have all chosen the last 2 weeks to be sick and unhappy and my work just happens to be in the pre-trade show crunch that happens at this time every year.

What with being sick this week, I was hit fairly hard with a number of significant bugs being as a result of changes I've done. So no working out, no time to think about much and being the cause of work for other people left me feeling old, fat, slow and stupid. Thankfully, this is lj/dw and is the optimal place to winge about feeling like I'm not meeting my own standards and how everything sucks.

Thursday I didn't want to go back to work, but I'd been off for two days already (and spent half of them working from home instead of resting). It ended up being a good thing because I finally managed to solve a bug that's been sporadically appearing since the beginning. Fixing that left me feeling like things were turning around. The fact that the weather has been springlike certainly helps (even if I haven't had much energy to be doing thing).

So, with this renewed mental energy and the springlike weather (even if I do expect a new dump of snow at least once this month) I'm going to set new month resolutions.

First, I will walk to the main bus station. There's really no good reason not to. it only saves me about 5 min tops and frequently, I wait that long for the bus to show up.

Second, I will set up my flow charts and work out my Pallas Armata lesson plan. Craig's work with the new lesson plan for the sword hall is fantastic and I want to keep pace with him.

Third, I will go to BJJ 4 times this month. My Thursday schedule allows it so there's no good reason not to.

Four, I will give Shadow all of the loves, because, really, he's awesome.


Shadow making a snow butterfly
Gentle Readers

The last little while has been pretty good. Last weekend was the Tournoi du Glace where I placed 3rd in the tournament. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't do better, but the 3rd place prize was more useful to me than the second place one, so that wasn't so bad. We ate off board at that event because too much of the feast was Cortejo unfriendly and I have to say our dinner was at least as good as the official feast. The company was also great.

We got to watch the UFC fights that night in good company and then got to spend the next day visiting with various friend on the way home. It was a lovely way to end/start the week.

The week following was good, but a couple of frustrating bugs at work had it going slower and more vexingly than it could have done. This was thankfully balanced by a great week at the sword hall. We usually had at least 4 students in each class and even had 8 in the Thursday evening class. I'm so thrilled that things are going well there.

This weekend was a little more relaxed. The most momentus thing was deciding that we were done with Fringe, about 5 episodes into the second season. I can put up with some plot related stupidness, but constantly forgetting major events from the last season and even from the first episode of the first season? That is just too much. It's not even like they couldn't have done almost the exact same thing without the obvious plot enforced dumbness.

Ah well, I should know better than to trust network television.
Gentle Readers,

It's Saturday and it's been snowing all night. Everything is covered with a layer of white fluffy snow. This includes, of course, the layers of refrozen snow that was already there. Normally this wouldn't be too much of an issue as there's nothing terribly important to do. However, this week I have to be at the sword hall by Noon because I'll be teaching my first private lesson at the sword hall.

I'm pretty excited. The student in question is interested in learning more about how to use a sword in one hand. We'll be working with a combination of Pallas Armata and Meyer's Rapier and he'll be feeding much needed cash into my Armour fund. He's happy to deal with my somewhat sporadic schedule so it should work out fairly well, assuming he likes what I'm teaching.

Anyway, what this means is that any minute I really need to get out of my warm cozy bed and go out into the cold cold world and move snow around. I'm really not looking forward to that part of things, but really, it's January in Ottawa. Thankfully, as I mentioned, it looks like light fluffy snow so hopefully it should go pretty quickly.

In other Ottawa Swordplay news, Craig's been doing some outreach and got an awesome media response this week. He had an excellent writeup in one of the local Dailies. He did a Regional Contact spot on the CTV News which I think turned out fantastically. Today they are playing a segment on CBC radio's In Town and Out.

Hopefully this will mean both a big attendance at the Grand Re-Opening on Sunday and an upswing in student numbers. I think Craig has things at the point where we are ready to do that. I am a tiny bit jealous, but mostly I'm happy to see someone living the dream and letting me come along for the ride.
Gentle Readers,

Are you there? Are there non-gentle readers? Do you feel like I'm not talking to you too?

What's up? Well, things are a little stressful at the moment. Work has just gone insane. For some reason, this week just went to hell in a handbasket. First thing we got this week was our senior QA person giving his 2 weeks notice. The week went downhill from there with several major hardware failures and a bunch of stupid issues in the code base.

Things at the Swordhall have been good but busy. I've been taking a lot the main classes while Craig is running the Intro Private Lessons for the various deals he's run ($60 for 2 lessons, 3 classes and a t-shirt!) and that's super fun but it can be a bit of a downer when there are no students. Also, with things running until 10, that makes for super long days. I still love the Gross Messer more than many things.

On the baronial front there were some minor stresses but they seem to have worked themselves out without much energy needed on our part. This is a good thing. In fact we're in the middle of 3 weeks off between events which is pretty unusual. There are some events we could have gone to, but thankfully, we've managed to convince ourselves to take a break.

Lydia, who was like a feral beast at bead time over the last full moon seems to have come to some kind of epiphany and has been quite wonderful, working hard to get her stuff done and basically be a great person to share the house with. I don't know what caused the change, but I'm really happy about it. I hope it lasts for a little while.

She's been really into weaving lately. We got one of the weaving kits from the dollarstore and she's making a bunch and been stitching them together with the goal of eventually making a quilt. I'm hoping to get her to try something like inkle or tablet weaving and see how she does at that.

I've been trying to get my A&S on too. We have a new queen in ealdormere who is quite lovely and who really likes late period. There are a number of the locals who have been trying hard to match her look with Late Period garb of their own. They have convinced me to try and as I have passed on most of my stuff from then, I am thus trying to get something new done for our big local event the first weekend of November.

It took me a while to figure out what it was that I wanted to make. Moroni's Tailor was tempting but not quite what I was looking for. I wasn't feeling the Peascod look so that took out pretty much everything from Alsega. The Henrican stuff in the Tudor Tailor didn't really grab me. So, what do I cleverly decide to make? The Nils Stuer outfit.

I do actually have reasons for the madness. Firstly it's german(ish) and is contemporous with Meyer who I've been studying. Secondly the outfit is black leather and velvet and was worn when Nils was stabbed to death in a cathedral by a Mad King. It's goth as fuck. I don't have any experience with sewing leather clothing.

Maybe this plan was not well thought through.

That may explain yesterdays exhaustion followed by last nights horrible insomnia which lead to even worse exhaustion and my choosing to call in sick to try and get more sleep. I went in and got my work computer at 7am to bring home to maybe do some work from home (traffic still sucked at 7am. wtf?). Unfortunatly, my back to bed plans were foiled thanks to today being the day we scheduled the early morning duct cleaning.

So yeah. Right now I have my hands pretty full. I think if someone were to suggest that I was burning the candle at both ends, I would respond with surprise that I didn't have to also be burning it in the middle too.

One interesting thing about the exhaustion is that my brain seems to be burning extra creative fuel. I'm writing here for one thing. I'm constantly visualizing construction methodology and I've got flash fiction zipping through my brain. This is pretty cool, but I think I might rather not be tired. At least for a little bit.
Gentle Readers,

Here I lie, after a lovely weekend.

As hoped the A&S thing was lovely. There were 50 people. I've been to smaller events (that had less active participation). I got my hood pieces (outer and liner) cut out and had some facinating discussions with all kinds of people.

We sent Lydia off to the twins house and headed home child free. I'm pretty sure we were both asleep before 9:30. I'm not sure what it was but I managed to sleep through the night, only waking up once. This rest made for todays good spirits I think.

The fight for life was amazing. We had 3 schools together and did a day of swordfigting with no drama and very little ego. I wasn't as good at the armoured combat as I had hoped and the steel legs I was wearing are aweful. I also only got in one round because the helmet I had gaped and exposed my neck. I didn't think that i could have tied it down until after I had gotten out of my armour.

The day was very positve and we raised almost 2K for the Walk for Life fundraiser. I think the fact that it was a fund raiser was what helped peope check their egos at the door. There was no sense that this was about prooving anything, it was just a means to collect money for a charity.

Afterwards was a lovely potluck to which I managed to contribute things other people ate.

Now, heres hoping for another good nights sleep.
Gentle Readers,

I keep forgetting to mention this, but I will be participating in the Fight for Life fundraiser for the AIDS Walk For Life. If anyone would like to pledge anything, let me know. I'm sure there will be some video and photos posted and everyone is welcome to come and cheer people on.

It's taking place at Hintonburg park this sunday, all day.

http://www.armizare.com/?p=1516

I'll be wearing armour and getting hit with swords. Come check it out.
Gentle Readers,

I've been trying to find the time to write this up for about a week, but it's been pretty crazy busy here. Work had been exhausting, today in particular. Partly, there has been lots of work to get done and I have to keep switching tasks, but the other issue is problems with the air conditioning. Today it was 32 deg in the office. It was only 34 outside. It's hard to get anything done.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about last weekend. Last weekend was the big event here in Ealdormere, Trillium War (aka Trillies). We got off to a slow start but made it mid friday afternoon. We settled in and had an exceptionally easy setup as our friends had generously set up our Pavillion. Since they have borrowed it for a couple of demos, they have set it up more than we have. Anyway, this made for a very simple set up and thus a very restful day.

At this point I've kind of lost track of the order in which things happened, but I mostly remember what happened.

I know I helped with an authorization. That was friday afternoon/evening I think. Friday night, Lydia got to play in her first Night Shoot and did pretty well. That night their majesties asked if I would be their rapier champion at Pennsic. I was super flattered, but I'm not entirely sure what that means in terms of responsibilites other than fighting in the champions battle at Pennsic. This will be the second time I fight in that tourney. I'll have to figure out a better way of warming up for it to get my head in the right space. Maybe just fence for a while before hand. I'm not sure if that will be possible.

I spent most of Saturday making a book with Velvetmae. That was pretty fantastic. I finally did a bit of fencing that evening in the Rose Tournament. It was an interesting format. There were two armoured combatants and an unarmoured fencer per team and each round was best 2 of three. Thankfully, my opponents carried me through the first 3 rounds I took to warm up and I was able to have their backs in the final rounds alowing us to win the tournament. It was pretty fantastic.

Sunday morning I finished off my book. It was awesome. I have now made 3 things at three events that I have never done before. I have decided that my goal is to come up with a Pent entry made of things made at events and ideally things that I've never made before.

The rest of Sunday was pretty hot so we disappeared off to town to watch Brave, which was wonderful.

We headed back and I got a bit of cut and thrust with archibald before it was time for great court. After that, finally, came dinner and after dinner came wine. The wine was joined with lovely conversation and I had the most relaxing and cheerful evening with a whole tableful of good friends.

Monday was teardown day and it went went very smoothly. I was able to verify that we could do most of the teardown of the pavillion without taking down the roof. This will make things easier if we ever have to take it down in the rain. We puttered and helped with the food group takedown and finally hit the road just after lunch.

It was a very rejuvinating weekend.
Gentle Readers,

We were off in Barrie this weekend for Spring crown. There was a lot of potential for a quite a bit of turmoil but in the end Eris lost the dice roll and the two finalists were the ones expected to be there. On one hand, this is good because they are both decent kings and they and their consorts would take care of a couple of issues that need to be delt with. On the other hand, they do not enjoy fighting each other and I think that emotional investment pulled some of the joy from the fight.

Outside of the fighting there was pleanty to comment on from the weekend. We won a Bow and arrows for Lydia in the silent auction which also contained a selection of beautiful knapped obisidian knives. I should find out who made them as that is something I'd love to learn. We did not win anything in the final Senex Creppitus raffle which was disappointing given that we had about 10% of the tickets.

The feast was, as always with these cooks amazing and excessive. We were very full by the end of the first remove (with 2 more to come). We brought in pitch eaters and even they were slowing down by the end. While I appreciate these epic feasts, I did agree with my dining companions that the length and monotony of feasts (in terms of things to do not in terms of dishes) is problematic in encouraging people to both stay for feast and also to do things after. There were a number of ideas bandied about as ways to deal with this and I hope to see some of them attempted (hopefully frequently).

Last, and unfortunately, least was the fencing. Only one other person brought kit and while I had a lovely time fencing with her, it was, perhaps, not as fun as it could have been.

Outside of the event, the weekend was lovely with a fantatic visit with our host bookending our weekend. Four stars, would stay again.
j_v_lynch: (baron)
Gentle Readers,

I was feeling pretty good last week after the whole prize thing was done. In fact I was feeling better than good, I was feeling fantastic. I was also excited about moving on with my martial studies. On I was back at Kickboxing and on Tuesday I was feeling good and motivated and went to bjj. I still felt like a baby wildebeest but I was moving ok and I even had one session of randori (my third partner) where I managed to take his back really easily. I was working my way towards a choke (reallllly slowly) when I caught my toe, damaged from the fencing, and the nail went from looking like = to L.

It didn't even hurt that much at the time.

Unfortunately, it did knock me out of anything physical and in fact I was limping around until just yesteday.

While it kind of sucked to be unable to do too much physical stuff, it was nice to have a bit of a break and with the current status of Ottawa Swordplay, Craig hasn't needed me that much. He's canceled all of the non-longsword classes and replaced them with slots for doing private lessons after getting over a hundred and fifty people responding to a living social thing. Granted, it was an amazing deal, but I'm hoping we'll have some new members who stick around and hopefully bring their friends.

Anyway, this past weekend we had yet another event to go to (Our next free weekend is the one right before we leave for pennsic). This time it was Fruits of our Labours, a hands on A&S event. I took some cool classes. One on lost wax carving. One on Pole Lathe bowl turning and a spoon making class. I also taught a class on Sword and Buckler. It was pretty fun overall.

This weekend is crown tourney. We were going to stay with some friends we have not seen in a while until we realized that their house was an hour past the event site and it would take us 7.5 hours to get there from here. That's a bit much. Instead we will be staying with somewhat closer friends.

It's going to be an interesting crown. There are a few contestants that I would love to have win but I'm happy with most of the possibilities.

I should be up for fencing too which will be great.

I'm glad I love this game. I seem to play it pretty hard.
Gentle Readers,

So, yesterday happened. Wow.

I got up about 6:30. I don't even remember why I got up so early, but I did. I remember I had stuff to do before we left but I don't remember what any of it was. We made it to site at our desired time (10:30) I was ready and on the list by 11. At 11:30, I fought the first bout against his Majesty (who is an excellent swordsman with steel as well as rattan) and from there continued to work through 48 more bouts in seven different styles of cut and thrust combat: Longsword, Rapier and Dagger, Sword and Buckler, Langse Messer, Rapier and Cloak, Single Rapier and *sigh* Case of Rapier.

Bouts of each style against mostly unknown opponents who all ranged from really good to insanely good. There were slight pauses for water and hippy gatoraidish jujube things (shocbloks) and a couple of instances of waiting on opponents but for the most part I fenced to the very best of my ability for the next 3 hours. .

The 50th bout was against the other prizor.

Then we got a little break and I had another 15 min run for the endurance round.

When the smoke cleared I had won 24 of the 50 beating the 17 I needed and the 20 that was my personal goal and was succesful in my prize.

I probably could have fenced more but I stopped moving and discovered that I was soaking weat from my neck to my knees. Clearly I had good hydration. I decided that dryness was the better part of valor and once I cooled down I went off and got changed.

The rest of the day was a blur with a court filled with well desereved acolades and a feast of the high quality and spleandor we have come to expect in ealdormere in general and harogate heath in particular. In particular their efforts to make sure that the restrictions of us at head table were taken into account were quite frankly, well beyond reasonable and were very appreciated.

I made one minor faux pas, but I think it was mostly ignored and I was allowed to take my foot gently out of my mouth.

I attempted to get the Don's I had invited to join me for beer at a nearby pub but they were mostly unable to attend for some reason. Still, it was an excellent cap on the day.

Today I am a little sore, but mostly from the weight of the chain on my shoulders, I think.

Catalogue of injuries:

two bruised toenails. This is probably the most painful thing.
a nice bruise just under the right shoulder
a nice bruise and cut to the top of the left calf.
a similar impact to the right jaw where the gorget was punched back from a thrust.

The price was worth it. I hope there is some video.
Gentle Readers,

I've got about 12 hours to go before my Prize. I've got a bunch of skilled fencers to test my skill. I've got years of training and experience to fall back on and I've shaken the fuckits that plagued me earlier this week.

Not only that, but I've got more people than I can easily count who are all rooting for me and want me to succeed because they think I've got what it takes. This group is filled with people I love and respect and who's encouragement and admiration have brought me to where I am right now at this moment. Even the ones who might think what I do for fun is a little bit ridiculous.

Without any of them, I would have been a different person and, I rather quite like the person they've helped me to be.

No matter how I do tomorrow, I know you all will be cheering along with my successes or with the successes of my friends and peers who will be sharing themselves with me.

No matter what, tomorrow will be epic.

Gimme the Prize!

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j_v_lynch

May 2016

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