jamesq: (Villain)
I went to Crown this weekend, to run an archery tournament, and to look pretty in court.

My tournament went well. I wanted to do something different for it, so I decided to do something like golf - you have to hit the target, but count how many arrows it took to do so. Like with golf, a lower score was better. The five targets:

10 yards: 15 cm diameter circle. Needed to hit it six times.
20 yards: 60 cm star. Needed to hit it five times.
30 yards: 12x60 cm vertical slot. Needed to hit it four times.
40 yards: 60x12 cm horizontal slot. Needed to hit it three times.
50 years: 15x20 cm 3D cylinder. Needed to hit it twice.

Beginners had to shoot the 10/20/30. Intermediate had to shoot the 10/20/30/40. Advanced had to hit all of them. You couldn't advance to another target until you'd finished the one you were on.

In case it's not clear from the description above, you could take multiple ends to hit your threshold. You didn't have to hit the ten yard target six times in a single end - I fully expected people to take multiple ends to hit the threshold numbers.

I had to change some of the rules as it became apparent that the 50 yard target was way too difficult. Four OGGS each shot at it 60 times, without a single hit. I implemented, at [livejournal.com profile] wild_wanderer's suggestion, a 60 arrow maximum score. And I really should have made even that value much lower. I've been told that golf has a maximum stroke count of 12, and the holes average par 3-5, so four ends worth of arrows seems about right. Next time, I'll go with a 24 arrow maximum score. I estimate that there were 400 arrows shot at that target, and it was hit exactly once, by the guy who won the tournament. Hell, that's why he won the tournament. Even at that, second place wasn't far behind, despite counting 60 on that target.

I also reduced the threshold from hitting it twice to hitting it once. And if I were to do this again, I'd go back to twice, but make the target bigger. Maybe a head and torso silhouette. I'm not fond of "luck shoots" and I fear hitting this target was more a matter of luck than skill.

Most of the hot archers (the geese, and others approaching that level) started with the 50, and got hung up there until I implemented the maximum rule. It became a point of pride to all of them that they had to hit it.

Good
  • The shoot. Despite my nitpicking the details, I liked it. I forget how much fun I have running a line.
  • Court. I didn't fuck up my lines. That's always the most anxiety-provoking thing for me - talking in court.
  • The crown tournament. It ended up being between the guy I've never spoken to, who seems nice enough, and the husband, of the woman I kinda know a little ([livejournal.com profile] ya_inga), who seems nice enough. The latter won. I think this will be a good reign.
  • I had a sweet little B&B in Fort Qu'Appelle.
  • Robert of Clan Gunn stuffed $20 into my garter!
Bad
  • And yet, he couldn't remember my name later. I'm not just another pretty face, Bobby!
  • The bugs. It was the caterpillar apocalypse on site. I can't stress enough how relentless they were. Everyone was constantly picking them off of themselves, others, and random surfaces. Would 10-100 per square meter be a reasonable estimate? Behind the thrones at the invocation of the lists, the ground was getting muddy with caterpillar guts. Oh, and there was an awful lot of ticks as well. Your consolation prize for losing the crown tournament? Lyme disease Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever! Thank heaven for kilt socks and DEET. (edit: Just found out that that species of tick doesn't carry Lyme. We only have to hate them because they're ticks!)
  • The drive. Two nine hour drives made the fun/chore ratio too low. I had to stop about three times between Medicine Hat and Calgary to keep from dozing off, and it was still the afternoon.
  • Lots of people there that I didn't get to see.
Ugly
  • Nothing. Despite going into this imagining it to be an anxiety-provoking chore, positive countering-thoughts and taking some opportunities to introvert kept that from happening.
Meh
  • There was nothing really stand-out, positive or negative, for me personally, so I guess that's all on the good side of meh?
In summary, a good event. But in retrospect, not worth the effort to go to if I wasn't already required to. Sorry Sigelhundas, you're just too far away for a wimp like me.
jamesq: (Archery)
As a long-time role-playing game organizer, I have a love/hate relationship with Rules Lawyering. On one hand, it's often obstructionistic, and is more about squeezing an unearned advantage out of a situation or just proving that you're more of a know-it-all than the person running the game. In that regard, it is widely held as somewhat negative. On the other hand, sometimes a rule just needs to be lawyered.

There's been some rules lawyering going on in that giant RPG I call the SCA (someone's going to object to that. My advice is don't get sidetracked by my little gibe). And it's been in the part of the SCA that's nearest and dearest to my heart, the archery community.

Some background: Royal Rounds are a method the Society uses to compare archers from across the world. It's a largely standardized (there are regional variations, but they're small) shoot consisting of four ends:

  • six arrows at 40 yards.
  • six arrows at 30 yards.
  • six arrows at 20 yards.
  • a thirty-second timed end at 20 yards, where you try to get as many scoring arrows off as you can.
There's other rules too, but that's the gist of it. Your score in a royal round should is a good first-order approximation of how good an archer you are compared to other SCA archers.

Montengarde, aka Calgary, where I am, has a giant advantage in the archery community. We have what is possibly the only indoor range that can handle a royal round in North America (I say possibly because I've always treated the Calgary Archery Center's claim that they're the largest indoor range in North America along the same line as a diner claiming it has the best cup of coffee in the world. Really, who checks these things?). We certainly have the only indoor range capable of it in Avacal (Alberta and Saskatchewan). The other branches of Avacal do not have that advantage. At best they have a combination of 20-yard indoor ranges augmented with the occasional use of ad hoc outdoor ranges when the weather and private land owner permits it. Finally, most outdoor events in Avacal also have a range capable of doing Royal Rounds.

So Montengarde has a huge advantage in regards to Royal Rounds, but it's not insurmountable. People can and do become great archers outside of Montengarde. But there's no denying it's not exactly fair.

To that end, one enterprising fellow observed that the rules say nothing explicitly about having to score at longer ranges. In fact, it explicitly says you can opt not to shoot any end in a Royal Round, taking a score of zero for that end. That's where the rules lawyering comes in: He started holding official practices at a 20-yard range and only counting the two twenty-yard ends. By the rules, as written, there is nothing wrong with that. It certainly goes against the spirit of the rules, but by my reading, it's not actually against them (though more on that in a moment).

Those practices stepped on some toes and that lead to some friction in the community. Finally, the Royal Archer (the guy who acts as their Royal Majesties final word on all things archery) clarified the intent of the rule: The range must have all distances present, even if you don't opt to use them. You cannot have a Royal Round at a short range, even if you're willing to short change yourself. This of course puts people in the opposing camp into the same situation as a Rabbi arguing the Talmud against God Almighty. You can do it, but you'd better tread carefully. The Royal Archer wrote the rules, and he's stated what his intent was, but despite that, the rules don't actually spell out that intent. As I mention above, the spirit is clear, but I think the loophole exists regardless of the spirit.

So why would the enterprising fellow want to hamstring himself with a lower score? The Calgary Archery Center does not allow crossbows, the shorter range does. If you want to practice with crossbows, you have to go to this other range. This puts crossbow shooters into the same boat as regular, non-crossbow, archers who are not in Montengarde - they have severely limited opportunities to get Royal Round scores.

So what are the issues surrounding this:

It's the law, so suck it up.

People who know me, know that that argument never works. People will abide by the law, but that doesn't mean they have to like it; nor does it mean they can't advocate to have the law changed. In the end we're discussing whether this is a good law, and if not, how do we make it so.

People need to have the option of scoring all ends, even if they don't take it.

I personally don't see much of a difference between choosing to not shoot 30 and 40 at a range with same, and choosing to shoot at a range lacking a 30 and 40. People are still making a decision based on the options available to them. I would be pissed if someone said there were Royal Rounds at a range, and the first indication I couldn't shoot 30 and 40 was when I arrived. To that end, I'd simply say make that point known when advertising the practice.

These are archery practices, not Royal Round practices - they're not synonymous. That some people have way more opportunity than others doesn't matter because that's not what the practice is for.

Point taken, but consider this: There is a huge amount of peer pressure to do Royal Rounds. I've been guilty of this myself, pushing everyone to do them (I also push them not to, if I think they're becoming hyper-focused to the point of not enjoying archery anymore - this is supposed to be fun after all). Last season, there were sufficiently few official Royal Round averages that we thought there was a problem that needed addressing, and we pushed harder. We shouldn't push people, then slap their hand.

Also consider this: Royal Rounds aren't just a way of comparing ourselves to each other - we've also made it a competition. People get medallions for placing in the top ten. High enough scores are recognized in Court by the King and Queen. Shouldn't competitions be as fair as we can make them?

A mechanism for doing royal rounds exists. If people want to do them, they can make the effort, even if it's more difficult for some of them.

I am mindful that's it's hard to argue for making things easier, when the target audience includes a lot of people who busted their asses to get where they are. Still, I'm going to do that: That people can shoot rounds at a handful of outdoor events, or that they can drive 300 Km from Borealis to Montengarde, shouldn't be an argument for the status quo. We have a solution that allows these people to participate, albeit not ideally, with a major facet of SCA archery. Ultimately, enduring a 300Km car ride really has nothing to do with how good a shot you are.

Miscellaneous Considerations

It occurred to me while writing this that the Kingdom might want to restrict this for it's own reasons rather than for the individual archers. Namely, a small amount of high-scoring archers will produce a higher Kingdom average, than a large amount of low-scoring archers. So if Kingdoms are comparing their scores, they might want to artificially restrict low-scoring archers. I have no idea if Kingdoms actually do that, and if they do, it's trivially fixed by only comparing the top X shooters.

Another pro-restrictive argument (and to my mind, the only really compelling one) is if the Society-wide rules already restrict this. If they do, then we can still make the argument, but the kingdom level is not the place to do it - we'd need to get all the Kingdoms involved.

So I had a look. The Society doesn't seem to address this (i.e. the loophole exists almost everywhere). Of the kingdoms, only Ealdomere specifies that the range have all three distances for the Royal Round to qualify. While I disagree with the rule, I will give them that it is clear and obvious.

Summary

I was asked my opinion about this when it came up over the last few months, by several people. My opinion is simple: If people want to shoot ham-strung royal rounds at a short range, let them. It's not ideal, but I'd rather more people participated in an uneven way, then didn't participate at all. I want more people to come to archery. I want fewer non-Montengarde archers driven away (ideally none).

Late Addition

So while I was writing this, they closed the loophole, and now you have to shoot at all three distances for it to be considered. You can't even opt to take a zero now (though I suppose you could just hit the 20-yard butt and say you missed by a lot if you really wanted to, but there still needs to be 30 and 40 yard targets for you to miss. Kinda wish I'd seen that before researching/writing all this. Sigh.

I think the King and Queen have to sign off on this, but it would surprise me if they didn't.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
One of my duties as Champing of Arrows is running archery tournaments at Kingdom-level events. That means I have to come up with targets for them. For this event I thought of this playing card theme for the timed end:

Playing cards? What a great theme!

And then I went completely overboard on a playing card theme. This was both good and bad. Good in the sense that I pushed my boundaries somewhat in pursuit of really good targets. Bad in that one of the targets was rather expensive.

What do I mean by pushing my boundaries? I'm not someone who's good at art - I can kinda do things if it involves straight lines, but things I make are never pretty. I recognize that I lack talent (and will often lampshade that when people ask me to do things. Instead, when I make art that's not straight lines I'll do things like compose on a computer first and then trace, or work from a static model of some kind, and pencil it over and over again until such time as it's at some intersection of recognizable and something-I-can-do. So much of what I want to make I see in my minds eye, perfectly done, and my hands simply cannot do it. I want to art, but it's supremely frustrating so I give up.

If I was just doing these targets for the hell of it, I'd have given up. Since I had to do the shoot, I forced myself to keep working on it until I actually got something I wanted. Surprisingly, I'm happy with the results - a rare occurrence when I'm trying to art.

Aside: I have more ways of being creative than "traditional" arts (drawing/painting/sculpture) that are less personally frustrating. Mostly, I write. I'm practiced enough at it that, when I'm in the zone, the words just leap from my fingers to the screen. Why can't I draw like that?

Anyway, I came up with some targets, made them on the computer, then went to Michael's for art supplies. Damn near paid full price for everything, but had the following exchange while waiting on a price check:

"I see you've got a stack of coupons here - I don't suppose I could snag one for this order?"
"No, because those are for next week. But if you have a cell phone, I can look up this week's coupons."
In the end I got everything for about a third off. Score. Though I suspect she wasn't going to volunteer that information if I hadn't been chatty.

Next I took everything to work (it was late Saturday night, so no one was there). Went into the room we use for demoing our software for clients that's set up to project everything on the wall. Then I proceeded to trace the pictures. Next day I inked them in, which took several hours while I watched the last few episodes of my cheesy 70's cop drama.

On to the targets, plus the gorgeous target I *didn't* make... )

And now I have to start thinking about my championship tournament at June Crown (assuming Kingdom law doesn't change in the meantime, in which case it will be at August Coronation)
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
2015, or as I could put it, Avacal's first Coronation.

Good
  • Hey, we're a Kingdom now. Cool.
  • Lots of deserving folks got recognized for stuff. Of note, [livejournal.com profile] snooness is on vigil to become a member of the Order of the Laurel.
  • First camping event in a long time where I wasn't freezing my nuts off at night.
  • Good camping neighbours.
  • Really good archery tournament - and I'd have said that even if I wasn't the...
  • Kingdom's first Champion of Arrows! That would be me. More on that below.

    Bad
  • It was stinking hot. This wasn't so bad on Saturday, where most of my exertion was retrieving arrows. Friday when I was setting up camp, and Sunday when I was taking down camp, OTOH, left me soaked in sweat.
  • the spectre of anxiety and depression where ever present. I honestly don't know where I found the spoons to keep them away, but I did. That would normally warrant a "good", but it pisses me off that I keep having to exert mental resources.
  • Plenty of people I would have loved to sit and chat with. Largely didn't happen unless they were on the range.

    Ugly
  • Umm. Nothing? That's good, right?

    Meh
  • Court was really long. It needed to be, but knowing that doesn't stop your butt from getting sore from sitting for four hours.

    Archery

    Oh my god, I won the archery tournament. I didn't think I would, because of the tendency for people good at something to focus on their faults. Which is to say, I know enough about archery to recognize the huge amount of stuff I don't know about archery. And I paid attention to all the shots I missed, instead of to all the shots I made. I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard. I sometimes wonder if the SCA is just a large meeting of people with Impostor Syndrome.

    Evidence suggests I'm a good shot. I need to remember that, because saying "No, I'm really shit" isn't good for me, and is also insulting to the people who competed against me. Besides, they're pretty good.

    After the competition, my friend MJ convinced HRH and the previous champion to let us know who won, using the rational that the competitors in the heavy tournament know who won. This is probably a good thing, because I don't think I'd have stuck around in court otherwise.

    Other than that, court was pretty anxiety-provoking, because I hate being called up in court. Thankfully future courts will be OK, because no one pays attention to the people behind the thrones. Right?

    So what do I have to do? At a minimum, show up at the principle Kingdom-level events and any wars, attend any royal court for an event I'm at, and run a tournament to find my successor next year. In general? Promote archery and serve the Crown. Still not sure what that entails, but I'm sure I can figure it out. I'll be going to three times the number of events this year though, starting with A/T War, which I had no intention of attending, but there's allegedly an archery war point, and it would be kind of groovy if Avacal got it.

    I really hope I don't burn out.

    In the mean time, I'll be doing a lot of archery, but not competing in any of it. It's a good thing I like archery for its own sake.

    And for the record, it's been two days, and I'm still freaking out. I think this feeling will pass sometime in June of 2016.
  • jamesq: (Don Quixote)
    I'll be foregoing the usual GBU format. Point format will be insufficient for the important stuff.

    First, this was a pretty good Quad War. Not epic, not great, but solidly good. For the most part there were only two negative things that happened to me (both partially, but not entirely, my fault). Plenty of negative things happened to others - it wasn't so much that tragedy occurred as everyone could catch a whiff of it in the air. You'd be enjoying yourself and then there'd be a little reminder. A lot of people couldn't attend because of personal tragedy. Others had a far more expensive time making it due to mechanical difficulties.

    None of that affected me personally though. In fact, the logistics of coming to Quad War were quite nice. I got to travel with one of my best friends ([livejournal.com profile] garething). New friend were solidified by a shared camp (in a prime location) and shared experiences (GD and SE). I got to hang out with lots of kind and generous folks.

    The weather was warm and comfortable without being stinking hot. It rained once on Sunday, briefly.

    Friday I ended up volunteering at the archery range even though it wasn't my shift yet. Also I did middling-well in both the water jug shoot and the Iron Arrow challenge. Iron Arrow wasn't a team event this year, which was odd. It was fun though, as was the ever-popular water-jug shoot. There will be a variant of the latter at Odin's Playground this year (or so I'm told), so go check it out if you can hold a bow.

    Saturday I spent the morning in charge of the range. There my better nature got me into trouble. You see, there was a kid there and he couldn't shoot (no guardian present). He looked like he was going to be trouble so I asked him if he would like to learn how to marshal (while underlining the point that he wasn't get authorized at this event, even if he was a grown-up). My intent was to teach him the basics and have him shadow me, while simultaneously using him as a gofer. Unfortunately, he ended up acting like he was already a marshal (not good, especially when he was distracted by shiny things). I caught shit for this from the Marshal-in-charge. The shit was deserved, so I spent a fair amount of time kicking myself over it. I was later told by a friend that he was snooping around the shed when (he thought) no one was around. Incidentally, the kid already had a poor reputation for this short of crap from earlier events (cf. QW1010). But I like to believe that people can overcome and outgrow their reputations, so I gave him a chance. Sadly it bit me and it made me look bad to a person I respect (the archery MIC for the event).

    The last word I had with the kid - and this was prior to the snooping - I told him he wasn't up to marshalling yet, and likely wouldn't be for several years. If he was interested, I said, he should seek out the Borealis archers and make an effort to practice and learn, starting with the Book of Target. And I told RT and BB about this so they could keep an eye out. If I find he hasn't done this, then I'll know he's in it for the attention, not the love of archery.

    That evening I got to see some friends get invested as the newest Prince and Princess of Avacal. I'm glad they went with a ceremony of sufficient gravitas, and not some whacky court shtick. I heard rumours of a Star Wars-themed hand-off and I'm rather glad that didn't happen. Also, it makes several obvious jokes that shouldn't be made.

    That night I drank all the rum. I had a fun time at the Grotto and I was neither grabby, creepy, or obnoxious! I was, however, ridiculously drunk. Possibly the most I've ever been. I think this because of my inability to stand up correct that night, and the nightmarish hangover I had the next day.

    Being hung over when you need to shoot a championship tourney is not good. I somehow managed to get to the range and got a couple practice rounds in. While collecting a wayward arrow I was going over what I would say during the invocation of the lists. Unfortunately, I manage to fuck this up. Every. Single. Time. I. Do. It. Every single time.

    So I feel like I'm literally dying, and I'm trying to figure out what to say so that I don't look like an ass. The fog clears for an instant and I realize I'm teetering on the edge of a major anxiety attack. Guess how much that improved my mood. Then I get back to the line and I'm informed that I have to have an inspiration (i.e. someone present that I look to for inspiration) for the championship. First I've heard this news, about two minutes before Their Highnesses show up. Fuck.

    I hate having to find inspirations. It's basically imposing on someone and forcing them to put themselves out for me while I fail to impress them. Plus it requires the exact same non-existent part of my brain that other people use for setting up first dates. Thankfully, I've been to plenty of championships where people are "inspired" by concepts. I figure I'd go that route. I'm "inspired" by my love of archery.

    So Their Highnesses show up and we line up and say our pieces. I get up to the head of the line, kneel down and proceed to completely cock-up my speech and I'm about ready to shrink down to one inch tall and run into a gopher hole. And then I'm told, no, I can't vie for Champion because I don't have an inspiration. Oh, the Prince has his reasons, and he states them for everyone. I dutifully tell him I understand and go to the back of the crowd. Meanwhile I'm thinking they want a certain kind of person for Champion, a person capable of getting an inspiration, i.e. a person who isn't me.

    But that might be the depression talking. That's what the evidence suggests given several people came up to me immediately after the crowd broke telling me that, had they known, they'd have happily been my inspiration.

    So I sit down under a sun shade, pound back some water, and feel a great weight lifting from my shoulders. I suddenly have literally nothing to prove to anyone and can shoot the whole damn thing for the fun of it! And that's what I did. As the shoot progressed over the next few hours, and as the ibuprofen/water/electrolytes repaired my brain I felt better and better. And I shot fairly well too. Though for me it was like Who's Line Is It Anyway - the score was made up and the points don't matter. Literally - I got half a point for lobbing two arrows down range without using my bow during a timed end.

    The shoot itself was entertaining and I got to shoot SE's combat arrows, managing to hit a helmet in the grill on my last shot of the tournament.

    Afterward, I had a much needed nap. Sadly I missed the war bow shoot, which DM said was super entertaining. Evening brought court and it was pretty cool. Finally there was the "Kingdom Kegger", a little get together at the town square where we could ask the powers that be about Avacal's attempt to become a Kingdom. I didn't really have any questions, which didn't stop me from asking the Principality Seneschal what the capital of Alaska was (He said Anchorage, I said Nome. Turns out we're both wrong - it's Juneau).

    My opinion on the Kingdom of Avacal? I'm 60% apathetic and 40% for it, mostly because all my friends are for it and I want my friends to be happy.

    The sun went down and we got a nice view of the Aurora Borealis. Something I've only seen a handful of times because I'm a city boy. It's a nice feature of our northern land and I think some SCA branch should incorporate it into their name. Maybe a Barony.

    I went to bed just before midnight and had a fairly good (and sober) sleep. I awoke refreshed and happy to have been at the event and a little sad that I was leaving without seeing lots more people. Seriously, I'd love to just sit around a campfire and chat in small groups with everyone. But that would take many more nights than we had. At least I managed it with SE and GD, who are awesome camp-mates, and I'm not just saying that because they let me use their shower.

    Gareth and I packed our stuff and took off. We missed the Highway Traffic Cafe after party and there were no new notes at the Killam urinal (though last year's messages were still there). An uneventful drive brought us back to Cowtown.
    jamesq: (Default)
    Friday afternoon, [livejournal.com profile] othelianna, [livejournal.com profile] hislittlekitty and I went three hours north to attend Avacal's November Investiture. This is the event where the old Prince and Princess step down and are replaced by their successors. Congrats to KK and [livejournal.com profile] mommaquilter on a successful and well-received reign.

    The ladies an I left before rush-hour so that was good. I'd have still liked leaving an hour earlier so that I'd have had sunlight for the entire trip, but I was late packing. Still, we found the place OK. It was about a half-hour west of Edmonton, so not actually anywhere near civilization.

    Q: How can you tell if an event is being hosted by Borealis?
    A: The words "Rural Road" occur in the event copy.

    My intent was to get a room in Spruce Grove (the local town), but that never happened. Instead I hall-camped. This was fine the first night because I got pleasantly tipsy. I met some interesting pirates (who were to run the bar on Saturday).

    Saturday morning was DB's archery competition. He did a good job with a microscopic range. I myself got a whopping mediocre 4 points. I chose not to let this bother me. The simple fact is that my current level of skill is nowhere near what it was a few years ago. This is about 20% my usual self-confidence issues and 80% lack of strength due to busting my shoulder a few years ago. No amount of [ affirmations | wishing | prayer ] is going to get me back into 90+ scores. Only a long concerted effort to build up strength and redouble my practicing is going to do it and it's going to take a long time.

    The only really bad news of the day was learning that [livejournal.com profile] ishansonofbrand was in a car accident. I have no idea what the details are (I wasn't going to quiz him at an event where he was vying for a championship and his gf was made a rapier cadet). The important information was known: There were no injuries.

    Step-down court was held. Lots of awards were given out, including a Princess' Knot for yours truly (squee!). Then KK invested Aiden as the new Prince of Avacal. Next up, [livejournal.com profile] mommaquilter stepped down as consort and Isabella stepped up.

    Finally, because the Fates had decided that [livejournal.com profile] mommaquilter simply hadn't cried enough, she was called up once again. That's when Investiture's special guest star appeared: [livejournal.com profile] missymorgan1, [livejournal.com profile] mommaquilter's Laurel! She told no one that she had returned to Cowtown a few weeks earlier (after living abroad for over the year) so that this would be a huge surprise to everyone.

    As step-down courts go, it was pretty epic!

    I went out to lunch after this with assorted folks at Boston Pizza. Normally I'd bitch, but I fell in love with our server, who was adorable.

    Returning, we caught the final rounds of the rapier tournament and SE's cadeting.

    Next up was an early supper with [livejournal.com profile] othelianna, [livejournal.com profile] missymorgan1, [livejournal.com profile] cat_cetera, [livejournal.com profile] falashad and Blue. I ate far too much this event, mostly due to a desire to be social. Still, the company was good.

    Back at the event, there were some cloven fruit floating around the hall. I wasn't expecting to ever receive it, for all the usual reasons, and yet I got it three times. All three times I used my stealth method of handing it off. It's kind of sneaky and assholish, but it works and minimizes discomfort for all parties - both me (who doesn't want to be rejected) and the ladies in question (who need to quickly come up with a way to reject me without looking like they're rejecting me). The method? I grasp their hand with one of my hands and bow to kiss it. While doing that, I slip the fruit into their hand.

    I managed to hand the fruit off to a hot Viscountess and two Machiavelli girls. The second twigged to what I was doing and tried to dodge it, but was unsuccessful. She chased after me and made me give her a proper kiss (on the cheek).

    So, three cloven fruits and no horrifying tales of rejection. That's a first.

    I had the clear option of either drinking or getting a room in Spruce Grove. I choose unwisely and opted to drink and hall-camp a second night. This made me very melancholy (but I've since recovered). I once again became aware of my talent to be completely alone in a room full of people. Instead I drank more and got close to being sick. Finally I went to bed and apparently snored. No one has ever told my I snore before. Lacking statements from people in a position to hear me sleep while sober, I'll blame the booze. My throat and sinus did feel sore - not I've-come-down-with-a-cold sore, but I've-been-yelling-a-lot sore. Since I wasn't doing a lot of yelling (aside from huzzahs), I may have to believe them on the snoring front.

    Next day I woke up, had breakfast and packed and very nearly got out of the hall before Curia started. Curia is apt to get me angry at the SCA again, so it's something I'm going to avoid unless forced to go.

    The roads were shit until Red Deer then things improved, so it ended up being a fairly long drive home that required constant attention. Normally I like to just hit the cruise control and stay well-away from other vehicles, but that was not an option Sunday. No close calls for me, but [livejournal.com profile] wildwanderer spun out once. The only damage was to his trousers.

    After dropping off the ladies I proceeded home and had a much needed nap rather then unload the car or prepare for my Oscar party.

    Summary:

    The good: It looked like a great reign for TEs KK and [livejournal.com profile] mommaquilter. You'd be hard-pressed to make their step-down better without having a Disney screenwriter handle the details.

    I had several compliments about my blog from people I didn't realize read it. I need to remember that the links appear on Facebook. [livejournal.com profile] missymorgan1 in particular gave me a warm fuzzy feeling about this whole exercise.

    The bad: The only real complaints about the event would be its remoteness and the fact that it needed to either be 50% larger, or have two more large utility rooms available for people to get away from the crowds.

    The ugly: More evidence that I should never drink two days in a row. Thankfully the melancholy was short-lived and easily identifiable as brain-chemistry issues and not creepy-loser issues.

    In other news, I had an Oscar party yesterday and it was well-received. Bruce described it best: Next time, team up Anne Hathaway with Hugh Jackman.
    jamesq: (Default)
    A little bit of SCA, a smidgen of crunchy toast, a pinch of emo... )

    To summarize: 12th Night was good and I've been sitting on my ass recuperating.
    jamesq: (Default)
    ...But since I'm sober, I'm going to guess it was the weird piña colada flavoured tea I had at a tea house near the site. It did something oogie to my gastro-intestinal tract and I had to cut the event short.

    Here's what happened, in small, bite-sized portions:

    I got up early and had breakfast.

    Stopped off in Mallsac to get some camping supplies on the off chance I decided to spend the the night (obviously I didn't). Now I have the same cot/bag combo I used at Estrella and liked so much. All it needs is about 4 inches of foam and it'll be perfect aside from not being large enough for shenanigans.

    Had a largely uneventful drive to Wetaskiwin. Only encountered one raging asshole, which is good for highway 2. Got to site about ½ hour earlier then anticipated. And I didn't even speed (much).

    As archery was later in the afternoon, I suddenly found myself with nothing to do. Normally I'm rushing because archery shoots are typically first thing in the morning. Instead I chatted with folks and went for tea with the pretty ladies. Drinking the tea was my big mistake.

    Shot in the archery tournament and I completely sucked. But I didn't care! I've decided that Winter War, I will always suck at (that's certainly been the result the last three times I went, and this was no exception). Conversely, Borealis' other martial event - Silverwolf - I usually do exceptionally well at (I won the archery prize last year). I can live with that. Of course, Now I've bragged about it, so I may have jinxed myself.

    Unfortunately, while waiting around to shoot, the oogie feeling started. This is why I think it was the tea. It gradually got worse.

    Went to a pub with a bunch of folks who did not want to partake of the pot luck. I ended up sitting with JD, QJ and [livejournal.com profile] wild_wanderer who are entertaining fellows. Had a couple good belly laughs, which made me feel better. Also saw a cute girl from Rhuddglynn, who I later found out was not single. Sigh. I'll have to return to my usual assortment of Montengarde crushes.

    By this time, I had decided that I just wasn't up for court (which is too bad, I subsequently found out that [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 had the highest overall score! Good job dude!) and I went around the site saying goodbyes. Sadly, several people I wanted to talk too were off site at assorted restaurants. Still I saw ⅔ of the people I wanted to see, so that's pretty good. I got back into the car and drove home, running the car to zero bars in the gas gauge. (Which apparently corresponds to roughly the 40 litre mark of my 50 litre tank).

    Total time enjoying Wetaskiwin and the Winter War: 8 hours.
    Total time spent driving: 5 hours.

    Not the greatest ratio, but it's still greater then 1, so I'll take the trip as a win.

    Part of the win wasn't just the time, it was the fact that I was in a shit mood this morning. Driving up I made a conscious effort to enjoy myself. "You're going somewhere where everyone is going to be happy to see you." I thought, which is not something I allow myself to feel very often. And it came true!

    The day may have ended prematurely due to stomach upset, but I identified it quickly and didn't let it spoil things.

    So yeah, probably the best Winter War I've been too. It helped that the weather was super awesome this year. 25C, which is pretty good for April in Alberta.

    Two weeks until Silver Arrow, which is an event I've always had a great time at. Woot!
    jamesq: (Default)
    Taking a page from other folks, I'm going to do a standardized update for those occasions when I don't have anything noteworthy to say.

    I had toast. It was crunchy... )
    jamesq: (Archery)
    You know what I love? The feeling of climbing out of a hole.

    I've been struggling with archery for months now and a few months ago I finally identified what I'd been doing wrong. Then it took me awhile to figure out how to fix it. For the last month I've been practicing that fix and I've gotten to the point where the practice is paying off.

    Tonight I shot an 84. The shocking part was a solid 24 on my speed round, which means that the shoulder positioning I've been working on is at a point where I don't have to concentrate on it 100%. It's still not anywhere near unconscious, but I can see it from here.

    The shoulder still aches like hell at the end of about 12 ends, but that's better then the 10 ends I was able to pull off a month ago. The strength and the skill are returning.

    It is such a relief to be able to say that. I didn't want to lose this like I've lost other things. The wonderful sense of accomplishment I had on the way home from the range today felt so good. I missed it so.
    jamesq: (Archery)
    Saturday was hot. Damn hot. Naturally multiple groups held athletic contests in the blazing sun. I can't bitch too much though, people actually died due to in-climate weather in Camrose.

    There was another beginner archery class Saturday morning, and I slept right through it. I did get onto the range though - I shot a truly pathetic end in the populous shoot (0 points out of a possible 24. Ugh) and followed that up with a decent showing in the invitational Iron Arrow challenge.

    The Iron Arrow challenge shoot was brutal. It was an endurance shoot where we had to hit a 2.5" target (basically placing an arrow through the reflector ring of a highway reflector) at 20 yards. If you managed to do this, you got to do the same thing at 30 yards. Then 40 yards. If there were still people left, they started reducing arrows. We later learned from one of the chirugeons that the archery range was (subjectively, to the chiurgeon) the hottest spot on the site.

    Nobody made the shot on the first round so it was relaxed somewhat to a wand shoot - if you hit the stick that held the ring, you could move on.
    Round one: Six for the Prince, six for the Tanist.
    Round two: Five for the Prince, three for the Tanist.
    Round three: Three for the Prince, one for the Tanist. This was my final round.
    Round four: Three for the Prince, one for the Tanist. Thorgeir actually makes the shot in the ring - the only person to do so for the entire competition. Now I know why he never practices - he doesn't have to!
    Round five: The Prince's team wins.
    I didn't do nearly as well as I'd hoped, because wand shoots are the thing I'm worst at right now due to my injury. But still, I did advance to the third round.

    Court was held after supper and lots of deserving folks got awards. Then I got called up, much to my surprise. First, the Princess complimented me on being able to sit in full view of the assembled royals while simultaneously not exposing myself while wearing my kilt. It's the little talents that are noticed the most.

    Then I was awarded the Gilded Griffin (The principality service award, a step below the grant level service award, the Goutte de Sang, that I already have).

    Rosie, please don't read this part because I'm too young to die... )

    [livejournal.com profile] othelianna made the scroll and it is beautiful (I'll post a picture later when I have a chance to scan it in). The best part of the scroll? Rosie put a little picture of herself (green garb, arrows in one hand, scribal pen in the other) in the lower corner! I love it!

    After court I moved the scroll to my car for safekeeping and changed into my nice doublet.

    I headed down to see Wench Wars, Kashi Machiavelli's wonderful competition to promote the fine arts of debauchery, flirting and double-entendres in a medieval context. Sadly, I missed Pirate Palooza, which sounded like a hoot and a half. That's because I went to the Grotto Party.
    jamesq: (Archery)
    A few weeks ago at practice I asked DJ to observe my form. I'd been consistently shooting well to the right for awhile now and I wanted his opinion on what I was doing wrong. It was then that we discovered I was jerking my bow arm (the one attached to my previously injured shoulder) to the right on release.

    DJ did suggest a way of fixing that, namely force the arm to push straight out. So for the next few weeks I tried that but managed to overcompensate sufficiently that I was jerking the arm to the left. The problem was that I was doing it wrong.

    Last week I finally put everything together - I needed to force my shoulder down while simultaneously pushing the arm forward. This stabilized everything for the duration of the shot and I started to go back to where I was. Instead of the 49 I shot the two weeks ago, I shot a 72. Still far short of my personal best of 97. What lost me was the speed round, where my shoulder unconsciously moved back to the bad position. Eight arrows, three points. Ugh.

    But still, it was a start.

    I shot better at Dragonslayer, but I discovered that holding my shoulder that way tires me out quickly, so by the end of the day I literally could not hold my shoulder properly.

    Today at practice my average at 20 yards was 24 points. On those occasions where I didn't hold my shoulder properly I'd miss the target completely. I even managed to split one arrow with another ala Robin Hood! Another end I had four arrows in a two inch grouping (in the red rather then the gold, but still impressive).

    So the good news is that I think I've beat this, it'll just take lots of practice to make my new form reflexive. The bad news is that for now it means I've got about 1 hour of shooting in me before my shoulder gets too tired and sore to continue. The ugly news is my speed rounds are going to continue sucking for awhile - I either take the time to get off six good arrows, or I shoot 8-9 arrows and have them miss. The choice is simple - slow arrows that hit the target are always preferable to fast ones that miss. Still it's disappointing.
    jamesq: (Archery)
    Montengarde's one camping event was this weekend, Dragonslayer/Hidden Treasures. For those of you wondering about the weird double name, it's because we used to have two summertime camping events: Dragonslayer (where we picked our Heavy Combat champion for the year) and Hidden Treasures (which was our premier archery-themed event). Now it's one event, which I think of as "Dragonslayer" that has as a major focus, the "Hidden Treasures" archery shot.

    I took Friday off because I wanted to get on site early to set up and then help out other folks. I was ultimately successful at this. I also got to try out the fugly box (the worlds ugliest car roof-top carrier, which I got off of Their Excellencies for free) for the first time and it worked like a charm. I can now (with some pack-fu) get everything I need into the trunk and the box. This leaves the passenger compartment free for people and their gear.

    Around suppertime, [livejournal.com profile] sagaciouslu and I went back into town for supper/booze. Along the way he compared me favorably to Groucho Marx. Badger always has the best compliments for me.

    I got new arrows from [livejournal.com profile] garething which I tried out briefly. The good news is I now have a decent set of arrows - attrition and wear was getting to my last set. The bad news is I can't blame my shitty shooting on the arrows anymore. I really am jerking my arm left and right when I release.

    When the sun went down we had a night shoot. This entails taping glow sticks onto the rear of the arrow in such a way as they won't hit the string or the bow when you release (tape it onto the shaft next to the cock feather). We took a few ends shooting at LeChuck and followed it up with the much more impressive clout shoot. Shooting at about 70° to horizon I had my arrow 'hang' in the air for about 8 seconds! I'm looking forward to the next night shoot (Quad War?).

    After this I made my way down to the bardic fire, which was starting. Sadly the fire in the large pit was small and impotent so I went to fetch wood for it. Sadly the level of light provided by the wimpy fire was not sufficient for seeing the bench that was embedded in the cement around the fire-pit. Luckily humans are equipped with another organ specifically evolved for finding low-lying furniture int he dark: The shins!

    There may have been a small amount of harsh language.

    The fire-pit was full of songs stories and amusing anecdotes. I had a good time despite the twin bruises on my legs. Around 2am I went to bed.

    Saturday morning was the Dragonblinder tournament - the one archery competition I really care about winning. Short version: [livejournal.com profile] othelianna put on a really good tournament - it was fun and challenging. [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 ended up winning it (we were all-but-tied until the last two ends, then I choked). This is not to say that [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 doesn't deserve his win - he does, he shot like a demon and will be a fantastic champion. Even if I was on top of my game in those last two ends, it would have still been a photo finish. As it was, he beat me by over 20 points.

    Some emo BS that's safe to skip... )

    All that was going through my mind after the tournament and so I was falling into a black mood. I was tempted to just go off site, but instead I was asked by [livejournal.com profile] garething to accompany several people out onto the Hidden Treasures range. I opted to do this for two reasons - one of the girls was attractive, I also wanted to get the bitter taste of defeat out of my mouth. I figured if I could win Hidden Treasures that would make up somewhat for my defeat at Dragonblinder.

    It was not to be. First, flirting is difficult when you're in a self-hating mood. Second, I didn't shoot that well. As a bonus it was a 2+ hour death march through the 30C heat.

    But you know what, by the end of it I was tired and sore and my mood had partially lifted. I didn't do well enough to win Hidden Treasures, but I did do better then everyone else in my foursome. Company made up partially of strangers forced me to not make them deal with my shit so I was on good, if quiet behavior. I simply didn't have enough mental energy to deal with my demons and my company trudging through the woods. So I ignored the demons and being ignored, they failed to grow.

    I was only partially out of the woods mentally when I left them physically. I had promised [livejournal.com profile] othelianna that I would driver her camping gear home for her so we spent about two hours off site. Her company is always a pick me up, plus I had the opportunity to grab a much needed shower. It was cool, refreshing and I felt clean again after camping out in the hot and the dirt.

    By the time we returned to camp, I was in a good enough mood to buy two boxes of ice cream for handing out to whoever crossed my path. I should have bought twice as much.

    While getting off site for a few hours cleared my head, I do regret that I missed the Dragonslayer tournament. I would have loved watching my friend [livejournal.com profile] oblivions when she won it. She's 250 pounds of heavy fighter packed into a 100 pound body.

    Court was epic. It was one of those rare no-adult-supervision courts where we weren't on good behavior for visiting royals. There was lots of laughter and court-shtick. Some highlights:After court, everyone who competed in Hidden Treasures was invited to take what they wanted from the Hidden Treasures treasure chest (an IKEA Apa box filled with chocolates, candies, and weird stuff). I patiently waited until everyone picked the box dry. Then I took the box itself.

    After court, people returned to their encampments to relax, have supper (if they didn't partake in the prime roast dinner supplied by the Calgary Archery Club) and imbibe. Later came more festivities around the bardic fire pit. I was there until 3 am and went to bed happy.

    Sunday I deliberately slept in as long as I could, but eventually the sounds of the waking campsite roused me as well. I wandered over to the Green Cauldron and ordered what I've dubbed the "Archer's Breakfast". It's a bacon/egg/cheese/green pepper wrap that you can eat with one hand while carrying your bow in the other. Afterward I helped out with site clean up before breaking down my own encampment. I finished around 2pm, and I was one of the last people on site.

    On average this was a good event for me and an epically great one for my friends. Congrats to [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 and [livejournal.com profile] oblivions for winning their tournaments and to [livejournal.com profile] conejita_diabla for putting on a successful event.

    But still, I wish... I wish... I wish...
    jamesq: (Archery)
    Chatting with some of the other archers yesterday at practice I mentioned the siege archery tournament held at T&A War. It was pointed out to me that one of the basic rules of archery is that no arrow gets fired on the range without being inspected and this simply wasn't possible under the circumstances of the contest. In fact, building arrows out of junk parts and firing them under timed conditions is flat out dangerous.

    It would be like dumping a pile of plastic buckets, duct tape, rope and random chunks of re-bar onto the ground and telling the two unarmoured heavy fighters that the first one who could armour up using the pile and swat the other would win.

    As a senior archery marshal I should have known that. Damn. Next time I'll call them on it. I was too focused on the novelty of it, because it was a cool idea. So are roman candle codpieces, but that doesn't make it a smart idea.
    jamesq: (Archery)
    Friday morning I got up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and drove out to the second annual Tir Righ/Avacal war. It was a more-or-less uneventful drive from Calgary to the site. I stopped off in Banff for breakfast and joined the Fimlandians (Finlandians? Fine Lames? Luxury-yachtians? The group that includes [livejournal.com profile] minyata, [livejournal.com profile] cat_cetera and [livejournal.com profile] falashad) for lunch in Revelstoke. Being a somewhat more aggresive driver then the rest of them, I made it up to the site about an hour before them and proceeded to set up my own camp. I'm about done with my present small tent. Too many creeky old-man mornings spent crawling in and out of the tent and getting dressed on my knees. I need a small, easy to set up/take down tent that's also tall with a large enterance.

    Anyway, thigns went quickly when the others arrived. Many hands and all that. We had supper at the local restaurant, which featured a decent $10 chicken caesar that they charged $16 for.

    Saturday was the war. I still don't have proper armour so I wasn't participating. Instead I went to help out with and compete at archery. I was the only Montengarde archer there. This makes this the first and so far only archery competition I've been in that didn't have at least one other person from Montengarde in it. That includes Estrella (which also featured [livejournal.com profile] thekillerb69 and [livejournal.com profile] conejita_diabla) and the non-SCA ATAA championships (featuring [livejournal.com profile] garething). Instead I was the outsider of an archery clique made up of the (I guess) the Lion's Gate archers. Jeebus, I hope we're not as intimidating as they are.

    The competition had three parts. First was an arrow-elimination shoot which I (and Deicyn) was the last Avacalian archers to be eliminated. Three Tir Righ archers remained. 1/3 point to Tir Righ.

    The next part was the "seige archery" competition. You had to construct arrows from junk and shoot them at the target. My first arrow hit the black, the second missed the target (it misfired because of the homemade nocks) and I didn't get the third one finished before the contest ended. Note that I was the only Avacalian who competed in this part.

    The guy who did win both competitions? Probably the best shot in An Tir. Also the only royal round score of 140 I've ever heard of. For you Avacalians out there, that's about 15 points higher then Ellias Silver's best score. Damn. 1/3 point to Tir Righ.

    The third part was a combat shoot and I didn't have my combat arrows so I didn't take part. The whole exercise would have been humbling and depression-inducing except I think I shot pretty good, just not as good as the machine.

    Avacal also lost the rapier competition, owing to us being outnumbered two-to-one. That's even with the evening factor of all the Kingdom-Core-rapier-fighters-with-Avacalian-girlfriends helping out.

    Bardic went to Avacal (in a squeaker) due to our own Bjar the Blue. A&S went to Tir Righ, though we were robbed and [livejournal.com profile] minyata and [livejournal.com profile] cat_cetera's hat should have won in my humble non-A&S opinion.

    And yet Avacal won the war. That can only mean that we kicked some serious ass in the actual heavy armoured war! We bitch about those Borealan Vikings when they're beating Montengarde like a harp seal, but they sure are handy to have around when you're fighting someone else.

    Court was kind of fun. Lots of people I didn't know got awards, but there was some fun court schtick from Hjalti, who's gaining stage presense by leaps and bounds. We took Tir Righ's stuff!

    Afterward was the party. The theme was luau, which is always fun if you want to get leid as much as I do - and by that I, of course, mean visit Hawaii.

    I drank lots, had some weird conversations (including one with VP, which was kind of surreal since we don't like each other. Oh well, here's to being civil), and generally had a good time.

    Sunday morning we broke camp, I sent a bunch of my junk home with [livejournal.com profile] minyata's van and drove out to the Soggy City By the Sea.

    It was a good time, and my stupid brain behaved. Thanks go out to the 20 or so Montengardians that attended. I was going to list everyone, but it would take too long to figure out what all their LJ handles were.
    jamesq: (Default)
    • Lost four pounds at weigh-in yesterday. That's a damn good start. Apparently following the program like you're supposed to actually works! Who knew?
    • Shopping around for dishwashers. I'd have probably bought one over lunch, but the FS salespeople were busy and couldn't answer my questions. I'll try again after work tonight.
    • Silverwolf archery being at 2pm Saturday, I think I'll go. I'll aim to get there around noon, which should give me a chance to pitch my tent, get changed into garb, and shoot a few practice ends. Afterwards, there will be drinking.
    • I'm debating going for my Sunday run in Warburg. Probably I'll just do it in the afternoon when I get back to Cowtown.
    • The Saturday after that (that is, June 20th), I'll be holding a garage sale. Come buy my junk buried treasure.
    • I got my bonus from work, so I'll be setting aside a chunk of that for Estrella/Vegas/Cuba. I'm still hoping someone will join me in Cuba.
    • Still waiting on the crossbars for the car. Hopefully I can get everything installed prior to T&A War/Vancouver, which is the two weekends (T&A war: June 26-28. Vancouver: June 29-July 5) after the garage sale.
    • Next week is my penultimate meeting as deputy seneschal. Last I checked we have only the one applicant. On the bright side, he's pretty good.
    jamesq: (Default)
    Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] othelianna and I day tripped down to Rhuddglyn to take in Avacal's June Coronet tournament. For you non-SCAdians, this is one of the two bi-yearly martial arts tournaments that decides who gets to be Prince and Princess of Avacal for six months. I'll cut right to the chase: HE Steinn Vikingsson ([livejournal.com profile] bork107) and HE Gemma Delaroche ([livejournal.com profile] justgemma17) won. They are the current heirs to the Principality Throne and will get to reign from August to February (which means they get to wear their pointy hats at Estrella!).

    The event itself was on a very nice campground north of Brooks which I can't help but fell like I've been to before, but honestly can't remember when. They've had events there before, but I'm not sure that I was traveling to camping events back then. We got there in time for a delicious lunch made by Tosh (chili and sour dough bread), then we wandered over to the eriks joined [livejournal.com profile] minyata and [livejournal.com profile] cat_cetera on the ground and watched the fighting.

    These were the cleanest fights I've ever seen in the SCA. I'm not sure what happened at May Crown to change everyone's attitudes, but the difference between June Coronet and November Coronet was like day and night. And this wasn't just my perception - I overheard a lot of people saying the same thing.

    Hell, the closest thing I saw to a sketchy fight was a knight holding back with a squire to give him more then a ten second fight. The squire still lost though.

    On the other hand, I saw a lot of verbal exchanges between the competitors that amounted to "was that good, I'll take that if you think it was a solid shot". They were bending over backwards to make sure everything was fair and honorable.

    I hope this sticks.

    After the fighting, Fáelán ran an archery tournament that I quasi-supervised. As I was hoping, he had all the work done and I basically just had to show up and help with inspections. He's not ready to be a marshal yet, but with a little practice I'm sure he will be.

    I was prepared to run a tournament without any help whatsoever, but I'm glad that my contingency plans were not needed. It gives me a plan in place for the next time we have last-minute archery.

    Court was fairly short. There were awards for people I recognize but don't really know that well. Notably, [livejournal.com profile] sadbwawho was elevated to the Order of the Pelican and Fáelán got his Gilded Griffin (Principality service award).

    I got to chat with a few folks while I was there and it was nice. Sadly, I only got to talk to about half the people that I wanted to while I was there. They were generally busy when I walked by, or I simply couldn't find them.

    Maybe they're all avoiding me. :p

    The sun was setting, so [livejournal.com profile] othelianna and I climbed back into the car and headed back to Cowtown.

    About the weather: We left Calgary and it was snowing and miserable. Pretty much as soon as we passed the city limits the weather cleared up. All the way to the event and back (and while we were there) it was sunny about 1/3 of the time, rainy about 1/3 of the time and cloudy 1/3 of the time. Basically, keep-your-cloak-nearby weather, but nothing particularly onerous. We came back to Calgary and as soon as we hit the city limits, hit a wall of torrential rain. Seriously, WTF? There were numerous puddles sufficiently large that I was worried about hydroplaning.

    [livejournal.com profile] manyra: Good event. I had fun.
    jamesq: (Archery)
    First there was archery scheduled. Now there is not. Then I get a phone call saying that one of the autocrats would be doing it, but he's not a Target Archery Marshall (TAM), and could I make a point of being there. He'd like to be a TAM, but he needs to be observed running a line so we know he knows what he's doing (he does, but we need to be official about it).

    I was originally planning on going, but the weather report (cold, rain, snow, rivers of blood) was making me hem and haw. Now I've told my Baroness that I would be there come hell or high water.

    There will be archery at June Coronet. It might not be official, it might be quick and dirty, but it will be archery. I'll even try to make it fun.

    Best of all worlds? It's official and I won't have to do anything.
    jamesq: (Default)
    It's been awhile since I posted something other then a quip. Well if I can't write when I'm taking a day off sick with, then when can I write?

    Last weekend I went to Bitter End for one of Avacal's premier archery event: Silver Arrow.

    I did not have a good start. I got a $200 speeding ticket before I even left the city. For the record, three other people on my flist got speeding tickets that weekend too - April was speeding month in Alberta. Also, I've got nobody to blame for myself. The cop got me fair and square almost simultaneously with me thinking "Geez, I'm really speeding right now, I better slow down or I'm fucked." That's when I saw the cop and thought "I'm fucked".

    Driving up to the event with [livejournal.com profile] hislittlekitty, I was mad at myself for doing it. But then I reasoned, I've never had a bad time at a Bitter End event. You'll put this behind you.

    So I got there and I hung out with lots of cool people. I shot a tournament and came in second, earning myself a nice juicy ounce of silver. The feast was delicious. And coming back from the event I had a nice drive home and conversation with [livejournal.com profile] hislittlekitty. On balance, it was a good day.

    This weekend was Beltaine. It's sad because this event had the potential to be perfect - the running of the event was superb. It didn't do well for entirely external reasons. Basically people stayed home. Understandable given the fact that we've had events almost every weekend recently and May Crown is coming up.

    In hindsight, we really should have cancelled the event months ago, when we looked at the calendar and realized the proximity of Beltaine to May Crown. Imagine if the same people had run an event in the fall - it would have been spectacular.

    The reason why it ended up that way was ultimately psychological. We pick the dates for events in Avacal well in advance - this is so that there are no conflicts between the assorted branches. So way back in February of 2008, we picked the date of Beltaine 2009. Then, months later, we won the bid for May Crown. We looked at the calendar, acknowledged that they were close and fell into the mental trap of thinking the event was set in stone. Of course it wasn't and we could have cancelled Beltaine and opted for something else provided it didn't conflict, but we didn't. By the time it occurred to anyone, it was too late. We had everything set up.

    Even so, things could have been OK. We suspected it would be a small event, but people could have showed up at the last minute. They didn't. As [livejournal.com profile] minyata points out, we got a lot of donations for the plethora of leftovers, and we'll be using other leftovers for the Hafla (aka the Montengarde Welcomes You to May Crown party).

    I bought some leftovers and I've turned them into Jambalaya.

    Anyway, I think the people who pulled off Beltaine deserve a big round of applause.

    Oh, and I ran (rather then competed in ) an archery tournament for a change. Everyone seemed to have a good time and sang its praises. Phew. I was really worried it would flop. I'm glad it didn't.

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