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23 September 2015 @ 01:04 am
Last weekend I went to Caid Crown. I had promised ldybz3 for the entire time she was in Vegas that we would go to a full Caid event. I had been to a pair of local Starkhoven events, but never to a kingdom event. With her leaving Vegas, I wanted to go out there one more time, when she mentioned that she was going to Crown that cemented the weekend. So despite being in all four times zones in the US for at least one hour each on the same day on the way out and taking a red eye flight back and then having to drive the 125 miles to Quincy to work the next day, I was in.

I saw and learned a lot of things about Caid and inter kingdom anthropology in the SCA this weekend. It started and ended with the same concept. I knew before I went that the entire event was over at 5pm. When 5pm got there and we were all done, it was very odd. No event ends that early on a single day in the Middle, to have a Crown have to be done with court before 5pm and then everybody off site was very odd. I can see how this could be a good idea for some events in the Middle, but never a Crown.

The next thing I got to absorb was morning court. These are also normal in Caid. Unlike the court before Crown Tournament in the Middle, this was a normal court for them. The populace was dismissed before the combatants and consorts were called in to swear fealty. There was no procession of the combatants into court. That is all much more of the tournament than of court. The court itself was similar in many ways to a typical Middle court. There were several awards given out, there was a Pelican made and there were presentations. In addition there were event announcements. I thought that was a very cool thing to have in court.

The Pelican ceremony was interesting too. As a member of that order, I was in court with a close up view. The most shocking them to me was the fact that they dub members of the Pelican. This was only the most shocking because without that, we would not have had the shock on top of shock when a Pelican has to hold the sword with the King as this Crown is not a member of the Order of the Pelican. This is the case with all the bestowed peerages in Caid. It made me wonder how they did the first three Masters of Defense. In addition to that major change, they also swear fealty differently. In particular the Crown swears it back. The actually state the bi-directional aspect of fealty.

The Crown Tournament itself was run very different than ours. First was the lining up of fighters by fighting precedence. The lowest fighter would then choose someone from the top 50%. They continued until all were selected. From then on the fighters would be paired up with a combatant by random. Wins and losses had nothing to do with choosing you who your fought. There is not tree. You only have byes in a around if you have an odd number in a does not. I did end up fighting the only by in the tournament as it was explained to me. I fought Sir Mans in the quarter finals with that bye, which I did win. It also ended up with the final four having three people with one loss each and one undefeated. A very different way to run a tournament. In addition they had pick lists open between the rounds and many fighters would bring their armor just for that. I was glad for it as in meant I got lots of fighting.

I was also thrilled by the victor as it was my friend Conrad fighting for Aisha. That made the day extra special for me. Conrad looked unstoppable the whole day. He was inspired.

Ending court saw me present chocolate on behalf of the Middle Crown, invite TRH Caid to SCA 50 year hosted in the Middle and be able to thank the Kingdom of Caid for being so great to me that day and so great to my daughter the last 10 years. Ending court was also quick, a very big change from the Middle.

All in all an amazing day with great things learned.
Current Mood: draineddrained
11 May 2015 @ 11:27 am
There was so much that happened to me over the last week. I have wrote about it off and on. I have now been to Europe. To a city that I never even considered with a pitstop in one that I always wanted to see. I have faced rebated steel with fighters of three other nations at my side and against fighters of at least nine other nations, likely more with the legionnaire system. I have spent most of a week with a lovely lady who is not a partner of mine. It was great to get to know Amy better. I have spent four days teamed with warriors that I had mostly on met once or twice before. I came away a loser in what I thought I could be good at but did my part to help a team get to fourth place.So little of this was expected. Let the rambling begin.

I can not get over how unimpressed I was the the Eiffel Tower itself. I did not have time to go up in it, so the view might have been amazing, though I find it hard to imagine it could to the view from the smaller but similar tower on Petrin Hill in Prague. I am not sure if I would spend any time finding out if I ever go back. I expected to be awed like I am by the St Louis Gateway Arch or the Golden Gate Bridge. I was most surely not.

I was in Prague long enough and with a slight amount of free time to explore. One stupid odd thing that stuck out to me personally was the fact the every bar, resteraunt. or stand old orange soda. I wish that was the case in America. I had lots of very good Czech food. Mostly port, but some great shrimp, a little lamb, and two kinds of goulash. One of them was very similar to what my mother used to make and it is called goulash with pasta. Plain goulash from where I had it was beyond amazing. Wild boar is really good stuff. I was not impressed with most of the breads, but that is okay. It is a meat heavy cuisine and I approve. I

spent many hours out walking the city, but most of the wa Prague Castle. It was fantastic, but not at all what I expected. Since it has been in continuous use as some form of ceremonial or religious seat for nearly 1200 years, it is really now a mini town. Shops, government offices, I think even some residences, dot the castle grounds along side the church and the many museums. It was not what I was expecting a castle to be because it has never quit working. You find the remnants of 10th century walls, but what worked in the 10th did not work in th 12th, so you find the 12 century walls, or 14th or 18th. Palaces from several centuries are within the walls. Some in use as modern government offices others as museums. Tombs and burials covering centuries. You also get to see the meeting of East and West European cultures, which you find both inside and outside the castle. The city itself outside the castle is like a museum to just walk around in. Dinner one knight was in a building from the 15th century. Everywhere you walked you found signs of varieties of centuries. It is an awesome city and I do wish I had spent more time seeing it. But I had things to prove on other fronts.

I always planned on donning armor in Europe. I just assumed it would be jaguar with rattan swords. Putting on a full kit and using steel weapons against some of the most powerful fighters of this type in the world was not even on my radar before 2012. Rob Roach inspired me on this quest. The man is a knight. I am glad he did inspire me to this. As I type here on the plane, I have bruises all over. me. I ache. My left arm is healing well but it is tender. My throat hurts to swallow. My knee is still only about 80% and not pain free. But all of these will heal. Something that amazes me is that when I add up the time where people were throwing blows at me for the entire four days, I come up with about a total of 30 minutes. That is all it took to get this sore. I got to meet new people, though I did not really get to party with them much. The fighting went so late each night that by the time I got dinner and clean, I did not want to deal with the hill. But i met an awesome person from team Mexico who I hope to change ideas about Aztecs with.

I think I am mostly over my failure in singles. Being on a medal winning team was amazing and unexpected. I loved the will to win award that the team received. I need to evaluate what I want to do in this sport. It is hard. I am not as good as I hoped. Shin shots and power moves were my downfalls. I did not run out of endurance but I did run out of proper use of my left arm after the German blasted it. Maybe to the tournament in Montreal next year or in the future? I do not want to lose this band of brothers, the Knights of the Drawn Sword. My thoughts on that order have not yet gelled I was knighted into it by Reed Harrig, Palymar, I have known him for 30 years now and since Rob was not there, it was a great honor to be knighted by him, not to mention the Middle Kingdom feel of it.

Now it is time to come back the real world as I jet back across the Atlantic. And another small side note, AirFrance has better food than KLM. Just odd that I booked the flight though Delta and never saw anything about Delta my whole trip. The drive back from O'Hare will be long.
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17 March 2015 @ 07:32 pm
What a wonderful whirlwind the last five days have been. It started with the late night and little sleep trip to St Louis, staying with Kathrin for a few hours of theoretical rest that consisted of about 1.5 hours of talking and 1 hour of sleep. But it was wonderful to catch up with her. I am very frustrated that her wedding is the same day as Seto's knighting. One is in Detroit and the other St Louis, so I can not make both. I let her know that on Thursday and she said she understood that Seto had arranged things so I could make it and her invites came out late. Still she is very special to me and I hate that I will not be there.

Then it as Sean and I for our 6:30am flight out. Got to the airport before 5 and the trip was smooth. We then rented a car at LAX and that was not so smooth. The drive was supposed to take one hour and fifty minutes. It took almost three. I think LA traffic and drivers are worse than Chicago. smili ended up taking a cab to her hotel and Sean and I went directly to the tux shop. I found out there the first miscommunication of the wedding. I thought ldybz3 said shirt and vest where there for me, but it was vest and bow tie. I had not brought a dress shirt, but they had one to rent me. Crisis averted. Sean and I then went and got Linda and met the wedding party at the cottages we were all staying at.

I met the members of the wedding party that I did not know and chatted with those I did. We then went and did a rehearsal. Sort of. Kind of. Almost. We talked about what would happen and where anyway. The beach was lovely and warm. Chris' Dad was wonderful. Then we all went out to dinner with much of Chris family and my aunts. I got to spend a lot of time with them over the weekend as well. Finally went back to the cottages after some food issues with Sean and Chris saved the day on that. Sean and I were exhausted at this point with about 2 hours sleep in the last 45 at that point. But we both enjoyed the hot tub and I finally took Linda back to her hotel and came and passed out at the cottages so I could help in the morning.

The morning of the wedding was everything a morning before a wedding usually is. Beez was running late, I have no idea where she got that from, and we pulled out of the cottages with barely enough time to get to the wedding on time. We got about 5 minutes out and she thought to call the officiant about the paperwork as they had looked it over that morning. Sure enough, he did not have it. I drove us back to the cottages to get it. We got to the wedding beach about 15 minutes after we were supposed to start the wedding to find that Chris was still dealing with some setup issues. About 30 minutes late, a wonderful beach side ceremony was held. I gave my little girl away for the third time, I think I must be doing it wrong :) and she married a wonderful man. It was clear blue sky with the waves around us. Britney and Chris looked amazing. Sean looked very grown up as one of Brittney's attendants. He did a great job helping out as well. Many pictures are on Facebook with many more to follow. It was a short ceremony with pictures on the beach for the wedding party afterwords. Then up into the shade for a pizza wedding reception. My aunts and two of my cousins and their families made it. I had not seen my cousins in years and never seen there children, so that was nice. Linda was my date for the weekend and it is hard to beat that.

I gave a the first toast of the wedding and made people first giggle and then cry. I had seen Brittney getting ready that morning and for the first time ever, I saw her mother in her. To be precise, despite the fact that Brittney is currently 33, I saw the 20 year old Brenda that I married in her face and radiance. Not in the hair though, Brenda never had hair colors like that. But this inspired my toast. My aunts then offered a memory to my mother, then woman that lived for a year solely to hold Beez in her arms. Shana and Roz followed with more toasts. It was a great celebration. We did more pictures including some family shots.

Then after a ride on the carousel, we took a short rest and went out for dinner. That was chaos too as no one had made a plan for a group of 14 on a Saturday night in Santa Barbara. We finally found a Mexican place that could take us, we put on our Pi Day shirts and had a great time. Sean then headed back to LA with my aunts while Linda and I went out with the rest of the wedding party. After about an hour, Linda and I decided that some private time was in order and we went to her hotel for the night. It was a very good night and morning. I love her so,

About 11 it was time to get things together so I had to depart from Linda. Went to lunch on the way out of town with Chris' dad and Jason and Tracey at a grill on the beach. Then we went and walked another beach and I finally got to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean. It was cold enough water that was all I wanted to do. We had plans to stop at a roller coaster just across the Nevada border, but it was sadly closed when we got there. So Chris, Beez and I headed onto Veags and got generic food and then went to there house. Been passed out and Chris, who had to work in the morning, could not sleep. He and I stayed up talking until after 1am.

On Monday Chris got off at 12:30, so the three of us played tourist. We did something non traditional for Vegas, we went to the museum for the Nuclear Testing Grounds. It was a really good museum. We all had a great time. Then we spent the evening at the Stratosphere. That was so cool. I had kept meaning to do it each trip to Vegas and this time I did. Once again there are photos on Facebook. We even had a traditional Vegas buffet there for dinner before doing another round of the rides in the dark. The view there is amazing and the rides are fun. That was a great day with my best daughter and new son in law. I ended it by lifting Brittney up with one hand still, but it was just barely. It has been to long since I did that trick.

This morning Chris got up at 4:15 to take me to the airport and I flew back to Chicago as Sean had picked up the car in St Louis on Sunday. I enjoyed a day at the Field museum with Diane and Richard. It was his first trip, so that made it even better. The Vikings special exhibit was great and they had totally changed the MesoAmerican area and made it much better. There was also an awesome exhibit on extinct animals of Madagascar that featured a 400lb lemur!

Now on the train to finish off my weekend with a visit with Samantha who is in Macomb for Spring Break.
Current Location: Amtrak
Current Mood: goodgood
09 February 2015 @ 12:28 pm
I am flying back from the national try outs as I write this. It will post some time later. I did not fight the singles fights like I wanted to. I did not win a full bout. I was solid with my long sword, winning one, losing one, and tying one. All three of my bucklers rounds went the distance with me losing 2 out of 3 and in one case it being one win one tie and two losses. The sword and shield bouts were competitive, but I lost them all. The singles champion spot that I coveted was not secured. Anthony Lynch, team captain, told me that the final decision for the three singles champions would not come until later. There is a chance I could be offered one, but it does not feel likely to me. I was beaten on that list in California.

One the other hand, I then moved to the 5 man team, what I thought of as my weakness. While I only took one person down in six fights, I disarmed another one and I did not go down in three of them. I was also the last man down in another and stood toe to toe with Maksto, one of the men from last years top five man team. Our team, the Sexy Beasts, would place second of the four teams and even though we were a pick up team, if I read Anonthy's post correctly, all of us are offered spots on the USA-3 team in Prague.

I promised myself I would wait until emotion cleared to decide if I was going to invest in going. It has not fully cleared yet, but the various mixed in emotions lead me to say I should go. I have bought the armor. I have loaner gauntlets, I have invested in training flights to CA and FL. It will be another chunk of change to go still, but if not now when? Wait to try to win a singles spot? I have yet to win a Crown. Going to a foreign country with no one local is scary. I do not speak the language. I have no idea how many things will work.

But this is an adventure. Singles would have been easy. Five man team, not so much. I am a knight. I have been invited on campaign. I could not travel last year and I regretted it. With the support I have from my friends, I think that I must go.
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Current Location: Airplane
25 December 2014 @ 04:05 am
Sean and I had our Christmas tonight. At dinner we determined that we would watch Guardians of the Galaxy, talk with Beez on line and play some games, then open presents at midnight. This seemed like a good plan.

It was a very good night. The Chinese buffet started it and then the movie. We ended up just talking with Brittney and later in the night with Chris when he got home from work. We had so much to discuss that no games were played. She opened her gifts from us, all Tinkerbell related, and she showed me the picture of her in the wedding dress that I purchased for her for Christmas. Sean got me a new razor and a really cool canvas of Spider-Man #122, the death of the original Green Goblin. This is a classic issue. I got him an Avengers T-Shirt, the newest Dragonball-Z movie plus a desk and a modular shelving unit. These last two are what he really wanted.

We decided to setup the stuff tonight. But first space had to be cleaned in his room. About an hour, two garbage sacks, and three recycle bags later, we were finally able to start on the desk. Nothing unusual to be up past three in the morning putting together the gifts for the kids, right? It felt good though and Sean was helping me instead of sleeping and dreaming of Santa. We finally got the desk finished and decided to wait to setup the shelving units.

Now it is 4am on Christmas morning. I am tired but happy. My boy was excited about his new furniture. Excited enough to clean up some of his room. It makes me smile. My daughter is lovely and my future son-in-law talks of planning for the future. It is a good Christmas. God bless everyone.
Current Location: Quincy
Current Mood: happyhappy
20 December 2014 @ 05:25 am
That was a very strange dream. I had a dream and a numbered very long time at this point. Sean and my brother somehow became merged in the dream. I did not realize till I woke up that was back at the house that Jen and i shared. It ended with me looking across the hall and seeing a roomful of people lots of people just getting to be more and more of them. I woke up from a screed my brother's name asking if he could see it too. It was that I realize that Sean and my brother dude with the same person in the dream.

It is five morning and I'm pretty awake because the pets much sleep. We want to get up at five in the morning I don't really want to sleep either. Sean is asleep he has to work at seven today. I want to roll over and see what happens. That was weird
18 November 2014 @ 11:58 pm
Quincy Medical Group does a free annual wellness screening for QNI employees. I got my results back. I am so lucky to be so healthy with so little effort. I know this and I count my blessing all the time. It also gives me little reason to change my diet or exercise, though I am up 5 lbs from last year.

Height: 6'
Weight: 191 lbs
Blood pressure: 108/64 (90-180/50-100)
Heart Rate: 68 (50-100)
Glucose: 107 - impaired fasting (100-125)
Cholesterol: 165 (1-200)
TRIG: 100 (0-200)
HDL: 35 (>60)
LDL: 110 ( <100 is optimal, 100-129 is near optimal)
HDL/C: 4.7 (Average risk)

If anyone knows anything more about these numbers, let me know. The nurse told me they were all great. And my blood pressure at work was normal this year!

I had other stuff I wanted to write about but the words are not correct at this point
Current Location: Quincy
11 October 2014 @ 11:39 am
I am having mixed feeling about my choice to fight in Crown. Part of me wants to be at ITOC. A big part.

I have been committed to Crown a long time. It is a life long goal. But certain days I do not feel that I will ever make it because I do not have the right kind of drive. I do not sacrifice for Crown in the right manner. I just want to win it while having the fun that I always do. Duke Ragnavaldr is entering this Crown. To say he will be tough to be is an understatement. I consider him to be in the top 5 SCA fighters in the world. It is a 16 man list as well. That makes me both more want to be there and sad at the same time. That only 16 fighters are willing to compete for this honor saddens me a lot. This combines with me above feelings that I am entering this Crown because I feel it a duty and not to have fun. But I have not done anything different to prepare.

I do not have a kit ready for the ITOC. After all the things that went down in the steel fighting community following the IMCF championships, I have not picked up steel. I still want to, but i am not sure where and how, so I have done nothing. My kit is not right by any standard and I am not sure what iconic kit I really want. Nor how much money I should drop into it. But I know if I had the armor that I would have far more fun at ITOC than I will at Crown. There will be much more fighting and the quality of it will be amazing.

I considered going on Friday to ITOC and then Crown on Saturday. That is not fair to Ghita. That is not fair to the people doing ITOC. Chance of injury is very present and I would be in a different state than I would otherwise for Crown, both physically and mentally. It would not be fair to those running ITOC as Saturday is what is going to raise the money to pay for this wonderful thing they are doing. So that idea is out based on my personal code of honor.

I am not going to change my mind at this point. I am going to Middle Crown. I am going to do my best to place it on ghita's head. I can beat anyone on that list. I need to figure out my commitment to steel fighting. I do know one thing for sure about both the SCA and armored MMA or whatever it might be called. I am not drawn in by the armor. I am not drawn in by the historical. I like to simulate sword fighting my way and what I wear to make myself safe is simply driven by rules and not a desire to feel historical. I do it, but as the SCA has shown, I do it may way but within the rules.
Current Location: Quincy
Current Mood: confusedconfused
03 September 2014 @ 12:29 am
I have been reading a lot about consent based sex issues. As nearly everyone who knows me understands, I am all about consent and full disclosure when it comes to sex. I read through very liberal writing on it though that says false reports are so rare not to matter. I am having an issue with that. While not as severe and more correctible, that sounds much like the same argument that says the death penalty is OK because it is so rare that an innocent man is put to death. I know it is not the same, but it is reading like that to me. And I would rather have 1000 guilty men on the street than one innocent put to death. I am seeking more input on this if I have explained it well enough.
Current Location: Quincy
Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
01 September 2014 @ 08:42 pm
I have come to love armored steel fighting. I do not think it is for the same reasons as many. I do not really care for the historical portion, but I can respect it and I understand the desire to have the same limitations that the knights did back then. We can do things they could not when we wear plastic or titanium. I can respect the desire of those that want to make that the first priority. It is not for me. But I love the sword combat it offers with real swords.

This is going to get long and very ramble filledCollapse )
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Current Location: Amtrak
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative