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.


Feb. 29th, 2016 06:59 pm
Gentle Readers,

It's been a week since the elevation. I suppose I should probably write something down about it. In theory, I've been putting off writing because I've been processing. However, I haven't really been thinking about it to be honest.

One of my friends, and a ceremony junkie, did a lovely write up that in the Ealdormere Gazette. From the inside however it was not exactly the same kind of magic. The last few months have been spent making sure everything was in place, coordinating a ridiculous amount of support from friends.

Writing the ceremony was probably the hardest part. I didn't do the actual writing but I did have editorial control. Which is good as I caught a few things that were miscommunication between me and the main writer. We needed to find that sweet spot to make it clear that this was still an Ealdormerian peerage but was still something new and special. We also had to make sure that it was clear that it was a martial peerage but without cribbing from the Knights.

I believe we succeeded.

As mentioned in the article I spent my vigil going back and forth between quiet contemplation and swordplay: advice or adversary. I think I would have liked a bit more of the adversary.

The advice was fairly consistent. Many people were proud of me and pleased that I was being recognised. I was told that I was clearly doing the right things and I should keep doing them. I was reminded not to be a jerk. I was told that I now get to carry the weight of the peerage and my behaviour will be seen as typical. To be honest, a lot of it feels like being Baron. There were three pieces that stuck with me. Firstly, in your life there are very few opportunities to have a whole day filed with people telling you that you are doing good; so revel in it. Secondly, when it's your turn to provide advice at someone else's vigil, never take more that 2 min. Finally, and most important: Love more, be awesome.

There were other things, that I wish I could remember but I'll hold in to these.

After the vigil we had scheduled some time to decompress, but I think I really could have lived without it. While the day was filled with human interaction, it was mostly one on one so not as draining as it could have been.

After taking a few moments, I got my self into my new suit and it was time.

The ceremony was as we wrote it so there were no surprises except for the fact that the sword of the order got left in the car and there was a last minute substitution. Everyone had lovely words (which I will be asking them for) and it was clear to me that people carry moments of kindness with them and that, more than any words during the day drove home what this collar is really going to mean.

The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur but it wss spent with friends and I couldn't have asked for more than that.

I'm very blessed by the generosity and kindness I have been shown and it's my job to pay that forward.
Gentle Readers,

Progress continues on all fronts and today feels like a pretty good day. That seems pretty good for a Monday.

I spent most of my weekend down in my Man Studio where I was working on a trade project. I have a friend who is exceptionally good at naalbinding (Viking crochet) and I am not. She tried to tech me and I understood the stitch but I need a better way of managing the increases because I keep ending up with ruffly doilies.

Since i don't think I'll have it any time soon and I really want better socks I offered a trade and she decided that some of the chains I'd been making would be great.

So far, I've made 2 lengths that I'm happy with and 2 that I need to do better. What really helped with the first ones us to set up a good process and I'm still trying to figure that out for the other two.

The trick seems to be figuring out the initial shape so you can set up a jig.
Gentle Readers,

For those of you not in the SCA, this won't mean much but it's kind of a big deal.

Last weekend at the Queen's Prize Tourney, I was put on vigil to be the premier member of The Order of Defence of Ealdormere.

For court I was sitting at the back with friends. Not doing the snark, but but fully paying attention, joining in with the cheer as appropriate. There was an elevation happening in this court so I wasn't really expecting anything particularly interesting.

Then his majesty started talking about prowess and knowledge and I thought "ok, cool, they are going to laurel someone, that makes sense. It's an A&S event." And then his majesty begged the boon of her majesty. I thought "That's weird. I wonder why they are doing it this way."

Her majesty agreed, if it was a right and proper thing.

His majesty responded saying he would like to make me the premier member of the order.

Things get a little hazy at this point. I remember the feeling of the blood draining from my face. I remember slowly standing and feeling unsteady. I remember my focus narrowing and thinking all I have to do is walk up there. I remember walking like it was in a dream, floating and unsteady. But I didn't stumble or trip. I got to the stairs up to the stage and I think Cortejo was there and hugged me.

I ascended the stairs. I remember keeping a grip on the banister. I knelt and settled and my knee complained and I ignored it.

Their Majesties spoke and the herald spoke. I think I said thank you.

They bid me rise, and I rose. I thanked them and bowed. And went back down the stairs. I think Cortejo was there again, but I wanted to go sit down and I did.

And even people started coming up to congratulate me and I couldn't decide if I wanted to risk standing. And every one was so nice and saying such nice things and I was just trying to figure out what had just happened.

I'm told it was about 3 seconds before I registered what happened and stood up.

I'm told that there was a standing ovation.

I'm told that the herald read the requirements for the Master of Defence.

I don't remember any of that. I just remember shock and lots of people saying they were glad it was me.

All that was the easy.

Now I get to define the ceremony that everyone after me will use as their foundation. I get to be the exemplar. I get to be the old gun fighter. I get to be very very visible.

I'm not sure if that or the fact that maybe I wasn't as invisible as I thought is the more overwhelming thing.
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).


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,

The third in my series of Things I've Been Meaning to Post About is the idea of a Mentor. I was having a lovely conversation with my parents and talking about all kinds of stuff when they mentioned my brother and his mentor when he was studying Traditional Chinese Medicine. I thought about it for a bit and concluded that I've never had a mentor.

So, before we get too deep into this, I should make sure that we have a working definition of mentor. In my mind, a mentorship has two sides (which should come as no surprise, there are 2 people). On the Mentor's side, they are someone who has taken a personal interest in their protege's growth and development and invested their energy and support in helping make that happen. On the Protege's side, they see something in the Mentor that they wish to emulate and think that the direction they are being guided is where they would like to be.

The SCA actually has a pretty good culture of mentorship (although quality of mentors and proteges can vary) and that's where I have most often seen this form of relationship. I've also seen it in university and in various forms in some of the workplaces I've had.

I've had many people in my life who have helped me become the person I am. I've had many amazing teachers who have helped me get better at various things and people higher up in the food chain in various organizations who have shown me the ropes, but I can't really point to any of those relationships and say "this person was a mentor" as opposed to this person being a caring friend or a teacher. It's the aspect of Role Model that seems to be missing from the relationships. I haven't managed to find that person I want to be like.

One of the things I've been wondering is if that is because I'm not seen as mentorable or if it has more to do with my not finding that person to emulate. Am I picky in what I'm looking for? Am I too particular? Am I seen as too difficult to guide and/or change? There have been many people I've learned from, and learned a lot, but I haven't seen them as someone guiding me. The relationships have felt more like we are peers. So, perhaps it's ego and the lack of ability to see them as far enough above me that I have to strive to reach where they are.

On the other hand, maybe it's been shyness and I've just not been willing to put myself forward to request that relationship either implicitly or explicitly.

Now, I find myself in a position where I could start to act as a mentor for someone else and, frankly, I find that idea a little frightening. Am I in a place that I want to bring other people to? Can I help people avoid the pitfalls that I have stepped in or if not, can I help them out? Do I need to seek someone out, or let them come to me?

I have no idea, but I think I need to figure it out. I do believe that I have useful knowledge to share but I'm not sure how to best go about it. Sometimes I feel way more like a useful counterexample than a role model.

Maybe I should find someone to mentor me in mentoring.
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,

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,

As most of you know I play in the SCA but I haven't really participated in the core activity of the organization which is Rattan Combat. I've played a little bit, but this weekend I finally fought in the Crown Tourney[1]. I fought with Cortejo as my inspiration[2]. I was a little nervous about the tournament as I've not got very much practice (mostly because I can't get over myself and out to practice) but really no more than I get over the rapier tournaments where I'm actually rather good.

In the end I fought as I expected. I didn't embarrass myself. I should have probably not taken the blow that eliminated me from the tournament, but I was satisfied that it was good enough and I had just been legged[4].

Anyway, the fighting and the tournament weren't really what I wanted to talk about here. The thing that was most weird was the way people interacted with me. People I rarely, if ever, spoke to were coming up and asking me how I felt about my tournament and saying I did just fine and that I was very brave for fighting with just a buckler. I was very confused by all this attention. I felt like I should have acted sad about not doing well so that they could console me.

Anyway, It was a lovely day. I got to say some nice things about Cortejo in public. I got to jump into the game. I got to spend some time with people I care very deeply about. Even the surprisingly disappointing feast was made better by the company at dinner (and Cortejo leading with jokes).

Really, the only thing that would have made it better might have been wining and while there was no danger of that happening, I suspect that that would have overwhelmed everything else and I would have not gotten to savor the moments that I had.

I'll save being sad about losing for next time.

[1] Crown Tourney is the means by which the regional groups choose the people in charge. The current monarch chooses the format and everyone who's entered fights and the winner gets to be the monarch after the next changeover.

[2] Each combatant is required to have an inspiration for whom they are fighting. After they changeover, they will rein at their side[3].

[3] Previously this was required to be someone of the opposite sex, but the rules were changed. This crown we had our first 2 same sex pairs which was about time.

[4] Got hit in the leg. It means you have to fight from your knees. I kinda didn't want to do that as I think it's a little extra silly, on top of what we are already doing.
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,

I know I don't really post any more. I'm not even sure if I have any gentle readers left or if it's just me, Gentle Reader. This was something I really wanted to write down. In fact this is my second attempt, the first one having been eaten by my not paying attention.

If you've read this you should be aware that four and a half years ago Cortejo and I stepped up as the Baron and Baroness of Skraeling Althing. In that time we went to over one hundred events. We watched our neighboring baronies change hands. We watched the line of the north grow longer. We did our best to remind people that Skraeling Althing existed and was filled with wonderful and active people.

At the end of July, we announced our step down. Much to our surprise, only one set of candidates came forward. Where we had originally planned to have a fairly long changeover, ending with an event in Greyfells in March, we ended up with a vote of confidence happing and resolving right before the stepping up event. I think this ended up being good in a lot of ways, like ripping off a blanket, but I know I didn't really have any time to process this.

I was asked a lot "how do you feel", "are you looking forward to retirement" and other similar questions. The answer was always the same: "It's not real yet." It really wasn't. The weekend before, when I told the crowd at the event in Montreal that it was our penultimate event as Baron and Baroness, it still wasn't real. Even counting the ballots before we passed the Barony's opinions to their Majesties didn't do it.

We bustled about, just like normal at Feast of the Hare. Brought our stuff, set up, joked about not having to bring it home. Did all the things, having hit the ground running, just like normal. We entered court, after their Majesties took our seats and proceeded through our planned court. Our surprises were just as surprising as we had hoped. The collective gasps as we cut off Cortejo's hair was fantastic.

And then I stood up to give our last award; A bunny tail for a young woman we'd been trying to give the award to for most of our rein. I stood up and said the words "This is the last award we are going to give out." And that was it. I choked up and started having to blink back tears. We managed to give her her award and then it was time to say our final words. There was so much that I had wanted to say about how much we loved our barony and how much we loved watching it grow and grow into the barony that would support our successors, having outgrown what we could do for it. Instead, I spoke few words and tried to tell everyone present how blessed we felt having had the opportunity to do the job. And the tears rand down my cheeks.

And then we were done. It was over.

I think that was the moment of transition. Where I was able to throw the switch and step out from under the Coronet. I really feel like we left things better than we found them and also left the Barony with good stewards to take it forward.

I can't think of anything we could have done better.
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,

We've been back from our SCA weekend for a couple of hours and I'm still processing I think.

This was the year I finally made it into Pent. My goal was to enter 5 items created in classes taken at events over the last year. I mostly succeeded in that goal. I'm pretty proud that I had all of my items done ahead of time and that I had managed to get all of my paperwork in ahead of schedule. I do wish that I had thought to print out said paperwork to bring with me and hadn't had to hastely rewrite everything at the event.

The commentary on everything was great. I had some wonderful conversations with a bunch of people whos opinions I greatly respect. They had wonderful suggestions for me and everyone was quite complementary of my work, which given that it was all my first attempt at whatever it was, was pretty flattering.

Even the pent presentation went well. I was able to present my case to the judges and bug out without too much difficulty. They seemed appreciative of my goals.

The less positive experience was my presentation on messer. Thanks to scheduling conflicts I was not able to do my presentation until just before court. I was not happy with the presentation at all. I really don't feel like I was able to present my knowledge at it's actual level or even at a level I was happy with (I'm not sure which of those would be higher). Given the time constraints and the lack of information about the judges level of knowledge ahead of time I had a plan for how I could present stuff and it really did not work at all. I think I will be able to do better next time, but that still doesn't help much with this one.

The space itself was pretty opressive with no sound damping and terrible acoustics. Given the site fee, it appears that it was pretty expensive as well. My mood was pretty up thanks to the piles of posive feedback but I think if I hadn't had that, I would have been pretty miserable.

We were able to have a good visit with our awesome hostellers and also had a lovely dinner the next day before our journey home. For our dinner host's first turkey, it was delicious.
Gentle Readers,

First things first, at the end of December, I will be celibrating my 40th birthday. I am looking for suggestions on what I should do. Right now my thinking is that it should involve some swordplay and possibly an outdoor pool and/or hot tub where you can watch the snow fall. There is a good chance it will also involve oysters because they are tasty.

Anyway, this weekend we were off in North Bay where we stayed in a hotel for Fall Coronation. The event was lovely. I got to do some fencing and some thrown weapons and watch friends become Duke and Duchess and other friends become Majesties. It was lovely.

The afterparty was quite nice too, although I have to say that the real negative of the weekend was the food. Sadly, most of the food expierenced throughout the trip was sub par and it made for some frustration. Thankfully it was more than compensated for by the company and also the swimming pool.

Thanks to lack of sleep last night, I think I will need to cut this short as my eyes are fighting me with each word I type. Good night.
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,

Today was mostly one of those days. One of the ones where all of the little things just don't go quite acording to pland and usually that failure is due to some piece of planning that I forgot. Like that many places won't sell you a bus pass with a credit card or that the first day of the month and also the first day after a long weekend is a terrible time to go to the bank.

There were some lovely high notes like good emails, the humidity and rain keeping the ragweed pollen down, and finally replacing my terrible phone. My daughter saying of her first day that "Grade 4 is AWESOME!" was also pretty good and so was her getting through 2 rounds of martial arts and a harp lesson with a fantastic mood.

I can say with certainty that I do wish I will still sitting in that field in the chill air that reminds you that winter is coming watching the sun come up over the trees and burn off the mist. There were just so many interesting discussions that happened. Hearing Finvar explain how he passed on both the start of the east kingdom and the mid was and finally joined because of a costume party was pretty nifty.

I've also been thinking a lot about what my next streach goal will be now that I've done the Dean's Prize. I really think that what I want to do is some kind of armoured deed. I have a good idea about how I would like it to work too. I figure if I'm all armoured up, I'm probably legal to fight with both Rattan and Cut and thrus. I just need to talk to the appropriate marshals to see how that could be done.

OK. My eyes are informing me that they have too much pollen in them to contine.

Good night.
Gentle Readers,

I've been home from vacation for 3 days. I'm kinda back into the real world but not quite as it's Cortejo and Lydia's birthdays and my parents are visiting too so things are not quite back to normal. I am back at work though so that's about as normal as it gets until I start back at the sword hall next week.

Pennsic was pretty awesome. I got a bit of fencing in. I got to help put together an Italian Villa. I got to cook for an appreciative audience. I fought in 2 war points. I lost in the Champions battle but it was an excellent boute. We lost in the flag battle but mostly because we were outnumbered (by 20%) and they had better tactics.

The weather was mostly hot with a bit of rain. Our pavillion survived and we were fairly comfortable in it but some kind of ceiling fan would be a great addition.

We managed to pack up mostly dry and were in the car before the hail started just as we were leaving for the Recreational Violence weekend.

I think the best part was that I got to see so many old and good friends, even if we only got a few short moments together.

The RV weekend was great. There were only 8 of us there so it was basically an instructors retreat but not having to worry about skillsets as we were teaching was pretty good. My class on messer went well. I'll have to write up an report overall.

We just finished a teleconference baronial meeting. Tired now.
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.

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