jamesq: (Archery)
Montengarde 12th Night 2017 was a good event. Overall, I enjoyed it. First, a quick GBU:

  • Got a decent last-minute deal on a hotel room, which meant I had a bolt-hole I could use.
  • Hung out with some lovely ladies on Friday night.
  • Saw some nice presentations during afternoon court.
  • Wasn't terribly interested in either the rapier tournament (though I'm happy to hear S and J did well enough to get into the semi-finals, and that T had won) or the Meet-the-geese meeting (I've already met them all). Instead, I left the event for a few hours to go to the Woman's March.
  • Following the march, I hung out with [livejournal.com profile] thebrucie and [livejournal.com profile] conejita_diabla at a late lunch at The Guild.
  • Court was mostly good. Watching Kraig and Una step down, and Peter & Bronwyn, jointly (hereafter referred to as PBJ) step up was the highlight.
  • Cookies and conversation that evening were both well-received.
  • I've decided I simply cannot watch any part of court involving the OGGS. For my own mental health, I fucked off whenever they were called up. More on this below.
  • Had at least one person try to glad-hand me - which is a pet peeve. For reference, glad-handing is something I view as different in intent from merely shaking my hand. Though I acknowledge that they'll look the same to an outside observer. It's like art - hard to define, but I know it when I see it.
  • No ugly! Yay!
  • Some SCA-exclusivity, but for this event, I was expecting it and it makes perfect sense. Still, the feelings are there, whether they're rational or not.
  • Remarkably low amount of snubbing this time around. Partially this was because I actually had some positive, non-snubbing interaction with some of the folks I expect it from, and partially because I simply didn't interact with other folks I expect it from. I may have to consider that I've over-estimated the issue. Confirmation bias with regards to nobody loves me everyone hates me; going out to the garden to eat worms is strong with anxiety and depression. Not currently depressed, but the mental ruts remain.
That I went to this event at all was mostly because I wanted to see PBJ step up. I'm finding that without an archery focus, it's harder to justify going. Mostly that half my friends are in the SCA is what's keeping me going.

Archery Drama

So why no archery? Well, In the immediate term, I wasn't interested in Friday night's archery social because we were having an event at a local hotel! What's the point of socializing there when we should have been socializing there. I mean, I'm happy they still had some archery for the event, even though it wasn't super official. But since I wasn't shooting, why would I socialize there when I could socialize here?

I'm not shooting for two reasons. First, I've been fighting a persistent repetitive stress injury in my right shoulder for awhile now, I want to give myself time to heal. Second, I burned a bridge, so archery practice has felt hostile. Is it actually hostile? eh, probably not. I can be civil.

Background: For several years, I've been kinda-sorta nursing a hope for becoming a member of the OGGS. And then for years, whenever the Geese would gather at court, I'd get my hopes up. And it was never me. Then, early on when I was kingdom champ, I had an encounter that convinced me I was never getting it. That really soured the whole idea in my mind. Later, when I saw others get it, that underlined the point further. While I'm happy that some of those people got it, it was still heartbreaking.

This all came to a head at the previous event, where I encountered the person who convinced me I wasn't getting it, and I told them, fine, don't give it to me. Some will call that burning-the-bridge. I prefer acknowledging-there-was-never-a-bridge.

So now, when the OGGS gets called up, I'm just going to avoid it. I hope those chosen make Avacal proud. I just can't bear to watch.

In a few months, I'll start shooting again. In the meantime, I need to figure out what to do with my Friday nights. Perhaps some Call of Cthulhu.

On People Leaving the SCA

First, I'm not leaving. Just resting and picking-and-chosing which events to go to.

But I did have a conversation with an acquaintance about this and she had observed that there are stages when people are likely to leave the SCA, and what stage you're at informs why you're likely to be leaving.

one event. You had a taste and it wasn't for you. Nothing wrong with that.

three-to-six events. You probably like the idea of the SCA, but for whatever reason, you didn't make any inroads into joining the community outside of events. Really, events are just the tip of the iceberg - so much more goes on below the surface.

two-to-three years. You feel you're not being acknowledged by the community. My acquaintance opined this was because you need to work for it. I would agree, but add that some people simply might not have the aptitude, or they've pissed the wrong people off. That I got through this stage is largely due to becoming Seneschal ten years ago.

seven-to-ten years. You've maxed out your award path, and recognize that you're never going to get that next step. That's kind of where I am now. At this point you need to either accept it, or possibly change your focus. That said, I know a handful of people who redoubled their efforts and grabbed that brass ring. They're rare though.

She also suggested that there was another age, past this, where you have no more worlds to conquer - you've succeeded in all your goals. However, people who are capable enough to do this, are rarely the same people to be satisfied with this.

As I said, I'm not leaving, but I need to think about what I'm going to do in the future. Will I just be a fringer? Will I redouble my efforts simply for the joy of it? Will I find something new to do in the SCA context?
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I find I'm not missing SCA events. I'm certainly not missing council or tavern. Council because I found over the last few years that I kept butting heads with someone who's simply not worth the effort. Tavern because about half the time I'd go there, I'd find I wasn't actually talking to anyone, I was standing against the wall wondering what was wrong with me.

That sort of social isolation had a habit of happening to me at the big events too. Especially if they were "foreign" events, and I didn't know many people. I've never been that good at meeting people. I often joke that extroverts get to know more people in six months of the SCA than I got to know in six years.

One astonishing moment came when an SCA old-timer told me I was an old-timer, pointing out that I had been in the Society for (at the time) over 12 years. I couldn't deny his logic, so why did it still feel like I was new.

Lord knows I've got a ton of accomplishments in the SCA: Seneschal, first kingdom archery champ, only person to have the Brass of the Minotaur. I'm happy with all of those. But I know I'm never getting anything else. I no longer really serve, so I'm never going to be a Pelican. I'm not a combat archer, so I'm not going to be OGGS. I'm OK with that, because I'm not willing to go through that extra effort. And that's OK too.

None of this is really about the SCA really. I suspect any large social group would have the same problem. Lord knows there's people who've bent over backwards to include me - problem is those people are social butterflies.

"Hey, James! Come sit down!"
*brightening* "Sure."
"Oh, I just saw someone I need to talk to. I'll be right back."
*doesn't come right back*
Funny thing is, this weekend is the first event since stepping down as archery champ that I actually decided that doing nothing was better than going to the event. I haven't been to any events since stepping down, but all the others I actually had good reasons - visiting friends whom I never get to see, being on vacation, that sort of thing.

Aside: That it's an event requiring camping was another big factor. Just not up to camping this year. It's a recipe for back problems.

Related to all this is a weird thing I've noticed. Events that I don't go to? Social media suggests that those are all really good events. The sort that everyone raves about how they had an epically good time. The ones I go to never seem to have that kind of reaction. This is probably just confirmation bias on my part, but the impression is still there. I've had epically fun events, but not for a long time. I feel like I'm trying to catch lightning in a bottle, and everyone else has the knack but me.

A friend wrote:

"Sometimes we get engaged in certain activities or situations to satisfy a need, or benefit some aspect of ourselves. They become part of our routine, and may feel like they DO help out with whatever they're supposed to help out with. But then other needs arise or needs shift, or not enough spoons, and we realize that that thing we're doing is actually taking a toll."
Lots of wisdom there. For awhile, the SCA filled a need - or at least appeared to. Now, not so much. It's not that I'm having that need filled somewhere else, and I no longer need it. More that after thirteen years, I've come to the conclusion that that need probably isn't getting filled. My goal now is to attend events I want to attend, and not have it seem like a chore. It's been a chore for a long time now.

I am planning on attending some upcoming events. Baronial polling? Sure, I'll give my two cents. Hell, when it comes to my opinion, I'm happy to raise it from two cents to a whole dollar. Harvest Feast? Maybe - on the basis that I've never had a bad time at a Bitter End event. Samhain? Absolutely, if only to see a friend elevated to Laurel. After that, who knows.

And I'm going to keep shooting and supporting archery (I've agreed to run a Target Archery Marshal class next week). In fact, I may have solved my chronic injury issue tonight. That being the case, I'll be back semi-regularly.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
All good, no bad/ugly. Maybe a little meh.

I think I've put my finger on why I hated being archery champion, but rather enjoy having been the archery champion.

Thoughts during: You're going to fuck up, you're going to fuck up, you're going to fuck up...

Thoughts after: You didn't fuck up! You didn't fuck up! You didn't fuck up!

Court was nice because Their Majesties did all the heavy lifting. Seriously, I barely had any lines at all, which reduced my anxiety greatly. Plus I got made an Elder of Avacal. Given that was likely the last time I'll ever be in court again, it was a nice way to end it.

Meh? The heat. Also, learning that my "this will end in tears" advice to someone was correct. I mean, it's nice to have someone acknowledge I was right, but I'd rather I hadn't been right. Spectacular lightning storm on the way home (good to watch, bad to get caught in when the rain comes down in sheets, averages out to meh)

Overall a good event in a good locale. I had a fun time.

And no, despite what I wrote before, I haven't quit.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
On Wednesday I resigned as president of the MSCA. This is part of my current put-the-SCA-at-arm's-length plan. Today, I went to the bank to get my name taken off of the list of designated cheque-signers. It turns out I can't actually do this, despite it being my signature.

Here's what needs to happen: The MSCA needs to have a meeting to decide who the current cheque-signers are. Then they need to make an appointment to the bank where they bring a copy of those minutes. They'll sign a bunch of papers. I, apparently, cannot affect this process at all, despite it being my signature.

Now those hoops aren't terribly difficult, but that they exist at all tells me this: It will never happen. Never. I know this.

Bottom line is, I was the last person on council who gave a shit about the MSCA. As long as someone with authority doesn't hold their feet to the fire, and they have enough people who can still sign cheques, nothing will be done. They simply do not think it's worth lifting a finger for.

Hell, about a year ago, we were discussing getting the proper people (MSCA officers, rather than just random MSCA members) as signatories, I asked the treasurer to undergo a background check as a first step and he flatly refused. This is the lowest level of background check, where you fill out a form, give the police a couple of bucks to cover the costs, and they send you a letter saying they couldn't find anything obviously wrong. The guy refused to even consider it. I don't know if it's because he has some 18-year old's bullshit on his record that he doesn't want anyone to know about, or he's just some kind of libertarian you're-not-the-boss-of-me type (the latter seems more likely), but he simply wasn't going to do it, even though being able to interact with the bank is a job requirement for the treasurer.

Lots of other things have needed to happen for a long time, including simply getting rid of the MSCA (all SCA branch accounts need to be accessible by the SCA, and the MSCA is a separate legal entity, so we're not supposed to do it). They never get done. Oh, people will agree to do them, but that never matters. The aforementioned treasurer was especially cheerful when agreeing to do the things he never did.

Anyway, I figured there was one thing in my control, and that was getting my own name off the roster. Turns out I can't, and I'm basically stuck.
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.

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.)
I enjoyed myself. Given how awful the last event ended up being, I'm kind of surprised. I started out being really pessimistic, but caught myself doing that and told myself that's not plan-A - the default should be having a good time. I'm not a big believer in Rhonda Byrne wish-it-and-it-will-come-true BS, But this wasn't a wish so much as a don't push yourself into the pit unless you have a good reason to.

Babbling. That's a good time to switch to GBMU-format:


  • I'm happy with my targets.
  • Socialized with quite a few folks.
  • Had a delicious reuben sandwich on Friday night.
  • Court was fun.
  • The cards were well-received by their models.

  • My awesome targets were only seen by a handful of people. We had the lowest turnout for a Montengarde archery tournament ever. This could have been fixed by not having lists at the same time as the archery tournament, or by allowing people who were shooting to sign up for lists later. Note that both lists and archery were before court, and the rapier tourney (that the lists were for) was after court (the heavy tournament was simultaneous with archery though). As it was, if you wanted to fight heavy or rapier, you couldn't compete in archery. Hence why there were only eight archers out.
  • Despite seeing lots of cool folks, I didn't see everyone I'd hoped to.
  • Lost my Ironhead pullover, leading to me searching my room multiple times. Tygar recovered it though. My theory? I left it in [livejournal.com profile] cat_cetera's stitch and bitch room Friday night and they couldn't identify the owner.
  • My earlier post about SCA Exclusivity was misinterpreted. At least it was misinterpreted in a way meant to be positive, even if I think the point was missed. Oh well.

  • Once again, I got a room for both nights, but could have gotten away with one night easily.
  • The feast was catered by the hotel. I paid for it more to support the barony than because of the menu. I could have had either a better meal or a cheaper one easily enough downtown. The company was good at least.

  • Nothing! Hurray!
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: (Head)
I did not have a good event. That's not to say that it wasn't a good event - it certainly seemed to have achieved all of it's goals with lots of people enjoying themselves. No, this was my usual mental issues.

My usual emo BS, you can safely skip this... )

So I keep having a bad time going to SCA events. What exactly is the problem here?

Well, it's not really the SCA per se. Well, one aspect of it is, but it's a minor thing. I've described it before and call it SCA Exclusivity.

Basically, as a society, we like a level of boasting and recognition that is over-the-top when compared to real world. Whenever someone is elevated or committing to a relationship in the SCA, we sing that person's praises long and loud. This person isn't just good, they're the greatest person ever.

There's nothing wrong with that. I think the real world could do with more of it, but it's generally unheard of outside of wedding speeches. Still, Valentine's day sucks if you're single, Mother's day sucks if your mother is dead, and hearing someone speechify about how this person is the best person ever when you know they're really not, and people never talk about you that way, except when they want something, sucks. I'm happy for these other people, but it always underlines that I'll never be good enough. (To clarify, I mean not good enough for the SCA. I'm plenty good enough as a person.)

Funny thing is, SCA exclusivity is not unique to me. I've described this often enough in other posts, here and on Facebook, that I know of a lot of people who've noticed the same thing. My curse of being alone in a crowd is not solely mine.

The next problem is that SCA events (especially very full day events like 12th Night) are so busy, with so many people. As an introvert, that's a very draining prospect. I much prefer seeing a few people in a deeper, more meaningful sense. An evening at a pub with a handful of friends will always be more enjoyable than an SCA event for me. If I could sit in a corner at an event, with a handful of friends, I'd count it as a great time. I've done this at camping events now and then. Some of my fondest non-nude memories of Quad War are basically this.

But I can't do this at a busy day event. For one thing, even if I set out to do this, the people I want to see can't oblige me. They're constantly being interrupted. Hell this happened yesterday. I thought "I'll hang out with X, that'll put me in a good mood", only to have someone grab a chair and sit between us so they could talk to them instead. The whole event for everyone (not just me) turns into a frustrating series of drive-by huggings and faux socializing.

In my rant, I mentioned "80 percent of the people here only barely tolerate me". Obviously, this is an exaggeration - I simply don't know that many people. Vast amounts of any SCA event are familiar looking strangers, and being, ahem, a unique looking individual, I'm sure I fall into that category for all of them too.

There are people who barely tolerate me though. If they're just random strangers who jumped to a conclusion about me, so be it. The real problem is there's plenty of people I used to call friends who are in that category. Having to spend significant time with former friends who snub you unless they need something, is unpleasant. And the worst part is, I often have no fucking clue what I did for them to go from "let's invite James over to the house party" to not acknowledging my presence unless forced to. I suspect that for a lot of them it's doesn't take the SCA as seriously as we do.

Again, none of this is unique to me, and I know plenty of other people in the snub-club. Hmm, maybe we should have a party at a camping event some time.

Next up, I have the constant reminder that becoming the archery champion cost me at least one friendship. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have never vied in the first place. I fully expect that statement to be thrown at me as a reason why I'm a bad person and should step down as archery champion. C'est la vie.

Finally, and let's not forget these all-important points that have nothing whatsoever to do with the SCA: I have a history of depression. I have social anxiety. I was in a lot of pain.

I really just want to go to my last few events as champion, then get the hell away from it all for awhile. The mental cost of events is simply too much for me to keep paying. Maybe I'll change my mind at some point (for example, A/T War still sounds like fun), but as of now, I'm done.

In the interest of not being a total downer, here are four things I truly enjoyed yesterday:

  • Witnessing a fun archery tournament with some really well-designed targets. They're going into the book.
  • [livejournal.com profile] wendy_licious is a sweetheart for putting up with my bullshit. No, she was not the receiver of the rant.
  • The presentation of Baron Kraig's Pelican scroll, by Sir Kian, gave me my one good solid belly laugh of the day. I needed that.
  • Baron James' feast. Oh god, that feast.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I went to the reboot of A/T War this weekend. Overall, it was good.


  • Got lots of shooting in, most of it acceptable.
  • Avacal won all of the archery war points. Also, the war overall (It's true - together, we conquer). I'm happy to have had a small hand in that.
  • Site is nice, but could be more compact, to reduce the huge amount of hiking.
  • Site is close to Nakusp, which makes hoteling wonderfully viable. My hotel was decent, albeit nothing special.
  • The nights were a wonderfully comfortable temperature, not requiring clocks or heavy underwear. Also, the site was well-lit, due to a beautiful full (blue) moon and cloudless nights.
  • My first court ever from the other side of the thrones. Interesting perspective. I kind of like it back there, even if it does mean I'll be messing up countless photographs for the time being. Sorry folks.
  • On that subject, Their Majesties, Albrecht and Nasheeta, do good court.


  • SCA Exclusivity again. I think if I didn't bake cookies, or be a prominent archery, no one would have anything to do with me. Still, I'm getting used to it, so it's not really triggery anymore - more sort of a sign or acceptance for something I can't change.
  • The flip side to it being so warm at night, it was stinking hot all day, every day. I think if I were stuck on site, I'd have died of heat exhaustion (I caught the edge of it on Sunday afternoon and went and slept it off in my hotel room before court).
  • I was supposed to get this event comped (as do all the Avacal champions), but no one told Gate. Rather than be a dick to the people at gate, I just gave them my $20.


  • The potential for ugly was high, but I managed to avoid it - mostly due to knowing where ugly scenarios lay and stepping around them whenever I could.

    Some random highlights and musings

    An old timer mentioned that 12 years made one an old timer. Apparently, I'm an old timer in the SCA. I call bullshit. If I was an old timer, wouldn't I finally feel like I belonged?

    The Champion's shoot was really good. It was ten on ten, single elimination, with the loser being knocked out and the winner (or tied pair) going back into their side's line up - First team to lose all ten of their archers loses. The Tir Righ team was really really good, and gave us a run for our money. I myself was knocked out by a 12-year old girl. A 12-year old girl practicing for the junior Olympics! Happy to have gone head to head with her, and if I had to be beat, I'm happy it was her.

    The populous shoot was fantastic - Avacal beat Tir Righ in absolute numbers. I'm not sure we'll be able to pull that off again next year. Still, I found it rather easy to convince my fellow Avacalians to march up the hill to the range. Given the heat and distance, that's amazing.

    I had originally wanted to avoid this event owing to shitty A/T Wars in the past (buffalo poop - you're soaking in it), and the six hour drive, and I'm really getting tired of camping. However, I had to go to this event (it's in Kingdom Law that I attend), and so I was grousing about it. Thinking on it, the thing I was really avoiding was the camping, not the event itself. And refining that further, I think what I hate about camping is the setting up/tearing down aspect of camping. If I could be one of the rich assholes who goes to Burning Man and just pays ten grand to have a ready made glamp set up, I'd do it. I'm neither rich, nor that flavour of asshole though.

    Still, it was nice having an option to hotel, and I think I got the second last hotel room in Nakusp (In addition to us, there were three weddings and a baseball tournament going on - and of course, it was the August long weekend). If I go back next year (and I'm considering it), I'll probably hotel again, but get a nicer/closer room.

    That just leaves the drive. It would be so nice to not be lonely on a trip that long.

    On Sunday night, I sat and watched the full moon go from a sliver to fully clearing a mountain, in about five minutes. You could actually see it moving! It's a wonder I didn't get dizzy, from the Earth spinning so fast.
  • jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    2015, or as I could put it, Avacal's first Coronation.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Umm. Nothing? That's good, right?

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


    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: (An actual picture of me.)

  • Did everyone hear the exciting new? We're going to be a Kingdom. I wasn't the hugest supporter of this (though I "voted" yes), but I'm happy that so many of my friends are happy, which is what I wanted.
  • Flirted with a pretty woman.
  • Got a few people to try Malört.
  • Montengarde's first hotel event seems to have been an unqualified success. I hope we do it again.
  • Quite a few gentles got properly recognized. One deserving fellow got put on vigil for knighthood, and I think it was long past time. He's on my short list for people I'd like to see become Avacal's first King.


  • The indifference of some people has turned to outright snubbing. Alas.
  • Some people need to realize that it's not all about them. I saw two knights totally upstage some folks who might never be in the spotlight again. I see shit like this all the time. Thankfully, only a handful of knights are responsible for all of the upstaging.
  • I reminded myself why I don't do Curia anymore. I thought my service burnout was gone, but no, it just needed fanning.
  • Boundaries folks - they exist for a reason.


  • Probably didn't need to get a room. Still it was nice to have a retreat, even though I didn't end up needing it.


  • Nothing. No incidents, despite having to be social for about two solid days and ample opportunities for drama.
  • jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    I've never had a bad time at a Bitter End Event. That trend continues.


  • Shot well enough in their Defender's tournament to tie for third. Two solid arrows and I could have won.
  • Got lots of quality gossiping in with assorted people.
  • The tournaments I didn't take part in looked like a lot of fun.
  • The Black Galley provided me with a quality roast beef dinner.


  • Said dinner from the Black Galley was required because there was no on-board feast this year. The harvest wasn't that good this year I guess.
  • I'm sunburned.


  • I feel like I'm on the edge of a depressive incident. This has nothing to do with Harvest Feast (hell, it probably postponed it), but they are coinciding.


  • Still sorting out some social issues.

    Other observations

  • I'm not as good at observing where the cameras are as I thought.
  • Sir Gunther (whom I do not know, and have not met), looked like a helmet containing nothing but a giant grin whenever he was fighting. Clearly this was a man simply happy to be out in the sun swinging a sword.
  • Benalto is sufficiently farther than Shady Nook, that it through off my travel time estimates. I'm happy I got there in time to compete.
  • jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    I'm grabbing a drink from the break room on my first day back at work when one of my coworkers asks me what I did on my vacation.

    "Oh, I went out to the coast to visit friends, do an SCA event, and see a good friend who is moving to the UK off."

    "What's an 'SCA event'?"

    "SCA stands for 'Society for Creative Anachronism', and it's the medieval re-enactment group I'm in. We dress up in costumes and pretend it's the middle ages for the weekend. This particular event was where we choose who the next King will be."

    "Choosing the King, eh? How democratic is that? Do you vote on it?"

    "All the people who want to be King dress up in armour and beat the bejesus out of each other until there's only one left, and that person gets to be King for six months. So it's not democratic at all. I, for example, will never be King."
    So, trip GBMU


  • With appropriate use of my earlier exit strategies, I had a fun event without triggers.
  • Travelling out there was uneventful and my B&B was comfy and inexpensive.
  • Got to spend quality time with [livejournal.com profile] othelianna, [livejournal.com profile] garething, [livejournal.com profile] somejauntypolka and others.
  • Met a few people at [livejournal.com profile] othelianna's going away pub night, and got to chat with others that I'd like to know better. They seem to feel the same way about me, so yay!


  • I need to learn not to talk mundane politics at the SCA.
  • I had to say goodbye to Rosie. :(
  • Didn't shoot enough.
  • Couldn't get a B&B for the trip back. Ended up paying for a hotel room instead. On the bright side, it was a nice hotel.
  • Basically got no exercise at all the whole trip.


  • Didn't get to say hi to as many Vancouver peeps as I'd like. Technically, I never got into Vancouver at all. Closest I got was Port Moody/Coquitlam/New Westminster.
  • I'm not fond of driving long distances by myself.


  • Threw my back out the day before the drive back. Not sure what triggered it (it became apparent after I slept on it), but the unfamiliar bed, earlier camping, and slacking off on my morning stretch all contributed. Spending six hours in the car two days in a row basically made it worse, and it's only now starting to feel better. But I'm not going to be able to run until this weekend.

    All in all, I would do it again. But only just.
  • jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    An Tir September Crown is coming up and I'm going. However, it's the most likely sort of SCA event for me to have adverse mental reactions to. Which is to say that I often find SCA events triggering, despite my overall enjoyment of them.

    Events that don't have much for me to do, or are very lengthy, or have many people I don't know - these are the sorts of events that trigger a depressive incident. Events that have what I think of as "SCA Exclusivity" are often the worst. Those are the events where some lucky person gets elevated from the pack and everyone declares long and loudly how special they are and how much they belong. I find that sort of thing underlines my own outsider status. I know it's not rational, but it's still there.

    September Crown promises to have all that. In fact, one of the reasons I'm going is I had a premonition that someone I know is going to get the SCA Exclusivity treatment, and I'd like to see it (It being long overdue, and no, I don't care if thinking "about damn time" upsets some people). I'm not going to jinx it by saying who that person is here, but ask me in private and I'll likely tell you. And no, I don't have supernatural powers or any sort of insider knowledge. I just think it's the right time for them.

    Other triggers are all well represented: It's an event outside of my home area, that focuses on the Crown tournament. Travel time is long so I can't bug out early. Plus I'm currently fighting a cold. The illness isn't really restricting me in any way, but it will sap my mental defenses, so I need to be aware of that.

    On the other hand, there will be a lot of people whom I do know at the event, including people I only see rarely. Enough Montengarde folk will be there that I can socialize without feeling like any one person's fifth wheel.

    Finally, the event is in the Greater Vancouver area, which is a plus. If all else fails, I can simply leave for awhile to get my head on straight. The trick will be to recognize the point where that will do me good, rather than after I've crashed. It's still good to get away after a crash, since I don't want to alienate all the people around me by being Eeyore, but it's not exactly Plan-A.

    Plan-A is to have a good time. Plan-B is have as good a time as possible, while using exit-strategies in an intelligent and restrained manner. Plan-C is to EJECT EJECT EJECT.

    So, don't drink unless I'm having a good time. Be prepared to leave the site (temporarily if possible) if I'm feeling down. Remember that other people getting accolades is a good thing and it's not all about me.

    So yeah, tomorrow I start my road trip.
    • Thursday: Leave work early, drive to Revelstoke.
    • Friday: Drive to Crown, set up camp, reconnoiter.
    • Saturday: Shoot things, watch people beat each other with sticks, drink (maybe).
    • Sunday: Shoot more things, hang out.
    • Monday: Break camp, find a hotel, stand under the shower for two hours.
    • Tuesday-Wednesday: Hang around Port Wood and visit the Vancouver peeps.
    • Thursday: Bid farewell to [livejournal.com profile] othelianna.
    • Thursday or Friday: Drive to Revelstoke (depending on timing).
    • Friday or Saturday: Home again, home again. Jiggity-jig.
    jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    • I made the decision to not try for Dragonblinder. This meant that I got to shoot with no pressure.
    • Being stress free, I shot well enough to qualify for the finals, if I'd been vying. Later shoots from the tree stand suggest that I had a shot (heh) at it. Still, how well would I have done if I was feeling all that pressure? I want to just enjoy myself at events.
    • I certainly enjoyed doing the Hidden Treasures shoot with Billy and Sasha (which reminds me, I should submit her last Royal Round score).
    • Tied for third on Hidden Treasures! Three more scoring arrows and I'd have won.
    • As I mentioned, a bunch of us wandered over to the tree stand and shot for about a half an hour. The benefits of being a Senior Archery Marshal.
    • Hung out with some cool people.
    • Managed to take the gate sheets from a B to an A-.
    • Decent steak dinner.
    • Lots of archery talk during court. Lots of deserving folks got awards.
    • Met new folks.
    • Sometimes, when drinking, I don't get any of the good feelings associated with being inebriated - all I get is the depressive effects. That happened Saturday night. Thankfully, I'm getting better at identifying that feeling earlier, so at around 11:30 Saturday night I opted to stop drinking and simply go to bed. The party continued into the wee hours, and I missed what sounded like some good times. However, I also didn't get that alone-in-a-crowd feeling that triggers a depressive incident.
    • It was pissy-to-rainy most of the weekend. The tent is currently drying out in the garage. Not sure if it was worth camping - I might have had a better time sleeping in my own bed.
    • Consequently, I'm dog tired today, even with (or possibly because of) a two-and-a-half hour nap.
    • Nothing really, since I managed to blow out that depressive ember before it roared to an open flame.
    • More evidence that some people who used to be good friends simply don't think I'm worth the effort anymore. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about that, which is why it's not in the "bad" category above. I've seen this happen to enough other people that I don't feel this is necessarily my fault. Normally my hyper-vigilance would conclude that it was. Screw you hyper-vigilance.
    jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    I was going to respond to a bunch of comments from earlier, but I think a second post will be better. Especially since I've had an extra day to ponder and get my jumbled half-formed thoughts a little more organized.

    Let's imagine, for a moment, a society that promotes the re-creation of medieval skills and knowledge. There would be arts, crafts, and martial training. The group would have events, both locally and in larger regions. However, people in the group do not have anything like a separate persona, and there would be no requirement to dress or act medieval (though one could if they liked - to demonstrate one's talents in creating costumes using period techniques for example). The winner of a regional armoured competition would simply the winner of a tournament. In this group, you would simply be you.

    The skills fostered in this group would be real skills. The relationships fostered in this group would be real relationships. All exactly as real as the skills and relationships in the SCA. Clearly this hypothetical group would not be the SCA. Probably wouldn't be nearly so fun either.

    If you take the SCA and subtract out that hypothetical group, what are you left with? You're left with the form of the SCA - a group of people pretending to be medieval. It can only be pretend of course because we don't actually live in the middle ages. At the end of the weekend we pile into our cars and go back to our mundane lives.

    It's not strictly re-enactment either. Our personas are not historical people - there is no King Arthur in the SCA, no Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have never seen anyone attempt to re-enact a real battle in the SCA, though I suppose it's been attempted at some point in the last 48 years.

    We have different names from the modern world. We dress differently. We have achievements that, while based of real skills and activities, don't translate out into the modern world. That all looks like role-playing characters to me. I have a persona separate from myself that has clearly "levelled up". I'm quite proud of those levels, and all of them took the application of real-world effort to achieve.

    The main argument I've seen against it being a LARP is that it promotes the honing of real skills. I don't know that that's a good argument. Games don't have to have purely artificial skills associated with them. The athleticism in a professional sport is not in any way a virtual skill - it's very very real. I think that because many LARPs have virtual skills there's a belief that they must have them - that something without virtual skills cannot therefore be a LARP. It's like saying that because birds fly, things that don't fly (penguins, say) cannot be birds.

    There's more to the SCA than just the LARP aspects, but that doesn't mean the LARP aspects vanish - there's still an element of play-acting to the whole thing. Not everyone is necessarily good at it though. On a scale of one (doesn't play-act at all) to ten (balls-to-the-wall re-enactor who won't respond to you out-of-character), I'm probably about a two - I bow and use milord and milady. I could probably give a basic persona outline if I had to. But I don't have to be Olivier to participate.

    Take the LARPing out of the SCA and you're left with the hypothetical group I describe above. No Kings or queens. No lords or ladies. Just the relationships and skills. And yet that seems a little boring doesn't it? It's like the LARPing aspect - the pomp and pageantry, the use of archaic titles and new identities - they're what really bring the SCA to life.

    I don't mind that it's a LARP, even though I'm crap at LARPing, I have no problem with it being a LARP because I see nothing wrong with having fun in the context of a game. Nor do I see games as being necessarily frivolous things. People get out of them what they put in, and some people pour their very lives into the SCA.

    Don't object that the SCA is a LARP. Object to the viewpoint that games don't matter.

    Just a Game

    Feb. 9th, 2014 08:27 pm
    jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    So this is a thing:

    Because Suggesting Something is Exactly Like Having Gangsters on Your Case

    ...And it got me to thinking, why is there such a vehement opposition to the idea that the SCA is a LARP?

    Google defines Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) as "a type of interactive role-playing game in which the participants portray characters through physical action, often in costume and with props." On that criteria alone it should qualify.

    Here's how the SCA defines itself: "The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century."

    One could argue that based on the studying/recreating (and educating) parts of the SCA it's not a LARP. I would say that it's not just a LARP. But LARPing is still a big big component. Probably it's biggest component since the only thing you have to do to participate is make an attempt at dressing up.

    The real problem, I think, is that LARPing is considered kid stuff. LARPing is a game, and the stuff we do in the SCA is nothing so frivolous as a game. Except it totally is - a game that is, not the frivolous part. Before the torches and pitch forks come out, here are some other things that are just a game.

    So something can be a game, and it can be more than just a game simply by the level of commitment to it. In my mind an SCA Knight and a black belt are of a kind with each other. We don't look at a professional boxer and say "it's just a game."

    I look at the level of commitment - just among the people I know - and it's a little awe inspiring. In fact, it's often kept me from trying things because I can see how many year of effort to hone those skills are. Hell, someone I have a tough time contemplating the level of effort that sometimes goes into a single costume. I appreciate it - from far far away.

    To my fellow SCAdians, who are lamenting the idea that the SCA is a LARP, I ask to please don't. Of course it's a LARP, and more than a LARP, and there's nothing wrong with that. And you know, it's kind of insulting to LARPers, who might have the same level of commitment to their geek as you do to yours.
    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.


    Feb. 25th, 2013 09:27 pm
    jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
    On Facebook, a friend asked what was chivalry. This started a fairly interesting discussion about how it applied to the SCA. My only quibble with the discussion? 1) It included a notion that fighting prowess was a necessary component. While that is certainly true for the SCA's Order of the Chivalry (aka Knighthood), I certainly don't think it's a requirement to be chivalrous. 2) The idea that "Wheaton's Maxim" (Don't be a dick) was sufficient. Necessary, certainly, but we can do so much better than a basic civil standard of behaviour.

    Looking it up on Wikipedia, I found the following Ancient Code of Chivalry:
    • Believe the Church's teachings and observe all the Church's directions.
    • Defend the Church.
    • Respect and defend all weaknesses.
    • Love your country.
    • Do not recoil before an enemy.
    • A single coward could discourage an entire army. Even if the knights knew death was near, they would rather die fighting than show weakness.
    • Show no mercy to the Infidel. Do not hesitate to make war with them.
    • Perform all duties that agree with the laws of God.
    • Never lie or go back on one's word.
    • Be generous to everyone.
    • Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice.
    I certainly think that someone who is interested in persona-development could do a lot worse than this. Which is to say, if you're a Templar in the SCA, you would certainly be expected to go on about the church and pushing the infidels out of the holy-land. If you're not one of those balls-to-the-wall always-in-character types, you might want to lay off talk about infidels - it's rude. Still, I think we can do better if we look at this with modern eyes and a modern understandings of civil rights.

    Church and country can easily be generalized to your community or to humanity in general. We can add in those modern ideas of equality. And we can make an attempt to explain why the rules are important, and not just some arbitrary rules from an age of sexism.
    • Defend your family, friends and community.
    • Respect one another, both those like you and those who are different.
    • Fight the good fight, even if it means defeat.
    • Be honest.
    • Be generous.
    • Be merciful.
    • Understand that courtesy - both in small and large things - is done for the sake of doing it, and not because you think others are less capable.
    I think this is a decent start. I've known people who follow these rules (albeit, not formalized as such) and they are all people I would respect or admire. I strive for it, but often fail.


    jamesq: (Default)

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