Melon Wars

There were several choices for their Majesties to attend this past weekend, and they chose Melon Wars. This event was near Burlington, Iowa and it was in the Shire of Flynthyll, at least it was by the end of the day. The Shire was incipient until court, when their Majesties made it official.

But we’re getting ahead of the story. It was held at a really cool site for a small event. Nice grass to fight on, a small kitchen, permanent restroom, cabin, and shower facilities. Wouldn’t work for 150-200 people, but very nice up to 100, which was about what we had.

Went up Friday night and got there in time to do a little drinking and having fun by the fire, but not much. Got up around 8 the next morning, primarily because I couldn’t sleep very well. Their Majesties and retinue were given the upstairs of the cabin, which was comfortable but we all snore.

This next paragraph, by the way, goes to Medb, Liam, Nazrynn and all the other people from the north.

It was a beautiful day, a few clouds to keep the sun from being too harsh, a nice breeze to get under the helm, and it was about 75 degrees. It was wonderful. How’s the weather up there, anyway? πŸ™‚

I fought really well for some reason. Maybe the weather, I don’t know, but I did better in the 6ft spear tourney than I have ever done in any tourney before. I did well in the 9ft tourney as well. In the Warlord tourney I drew a bye in the first round, which really sucks. A Warlord tourney is one where the winner of the first round is captain of a team including the person he beat in the first round. The winner of the second round has a team that has four people (in a full tourney) and so on. Ultimately, there are two captains, each with half of the people on his team. If you get a bye, you don’t have the person you might have beat in the first round so I had to fight 1 on 2 in the second round. I was on fire enough to actually win that fight. The list was structured so pretty much everyone was even with 3 man teams in the second round, and my team won, no thanks to me in the second round.

In the last bout of the 6ft spear tourney I stretched my knee a little more than I should have and it was sore going into the Warlord tourney. In that second round fight I was legged and went down awkwardly, twisting my knee further in the process. I probably could have continued fighting, but I was smart enough to want a shower, ibuprofen, ice, and beer. It made the rest of the day go pretty well. The knee is still sore, but I’ll be able to fight at fighter practice and maybe fight this weekend. I’ve been fighting at every event and at least one and sometimes two fighter practices a week and my knees and ankles are getting irritable. I may take this week off though I won’t get fighter practice next week because I’ll be on the road to a special semi-secret place. We’ll see.

Anyway, court was fun. As mentioned, the Shire was made official. There were a lot of Shire members and His Majesty was impressed. Her Majesty’s shire was made official at Coronation with 46 members. Tristram asked how many were in Flynthyll and was told 53. He looked at Katrine with a smug look so I stepped forward with the axe and told Her Majesty that I would be happy to remove 7 of them :). She thought about that for a moment, but sadly would not allow me my fun. The Champion’s Axe, by the way, screams to be used for chopping off people’s heads. It’s in the way it is balanced. Really.

So several members of the new shire were given awards. The most humorous went to Odysseus Titanius Maximus. Max is the one person in that shire who travels a lot, so everyone knows him. The first award of the day went to someone else, and Max shouted out “Busted” when he was called up. Their Majesties and retinue took great pleasure in reminding Max of that when he got called up himself.

After court was a very nice feast, except for the one fishy bit. Ick :). Then there was a torchlight greatsword tourney which was combined with a best bodice competition. Just to remind you, this was Melon Wars. The bodice competition had to do with the best display of melons. So one kid, Olai, taped cantaloupes to his armor so that he could participate in both the great sword tourney and the bodice competition. Surprisingly enough, though everyone he faced in the great sword tourney aimed for them, his melons survived. They were in fact real melons, as Her Majesty asked me to confirm.

All in all, a fun, somewhat silly little event. Good weather, good friends, good fighting, good food, good beer, and a good time.

Current Status

You know, as I think about it, I’ve not really posted anything about my current status.

I don’t even know if I have mentioned that I have chosen to go to the University of Missouri for my PhD. The choice was made because Dr. Huneycutt really chased after me (it’s nice to be wanted) and because I can do Anglo-Saxon military culture with her and Dr. Richard Abels, who is from the US Naval Academy.

So right now I am sitting in a brewpub in Columbia, MO, one that has a very nice brown ale and wireless internet. This is the way life oughta be :).

I’ve decided to try and find a house here and the process is going though it’s so complicated.

Speaking of complicated, I wish I understood what I really want personally. Things are just odd with me right now, a fact pointed out forcefully by Maerwynn this morning.

I did have a good chat with my Dr. Huneycutt today, I’ll be taking four classes next fall, Intensive Latin, Roman Empire, Medieval Lit, and a Seminar from Huneycutt. Combined with teaching probably 2 classes, I’m going to be very busy come fall. I’m excited, it will be nice to be fully occupied again.

Bellewode Symposium

Bellewode Symposium was a very relaxed event. There was originally no fighting, but Ermenrich and Roberto helped me arrange to have fighting at least available. Since there was no advertised fighting, though, Liam, Fathmbjorn, and I were the only ones who suited up.

Since there were only 3 of us, we weren’t too anxious to fight. We fought for about half an hour once some mundanes came by and asked if we were going to fight. We hung out and talked about fighting and had a beer in the sun and eventually took a bit of a nap in the grass. How’s that for a hobby? πŸ™‚

But it was a fun event. I even danced, once in a class, once at the ball later that night. The first was because Tristram ‘suggested’ it would be good for the fyrdmen. The second was because Slaine dragged me out.

The result? Confirmation that I can’t dance πŸ™‚ I have the rhythm of a tumbleweed.

Court was nice and short, though I was a little confused at the start. I forgot that Dongal had not yet sworn fealty and been invested as King’s Champion so I was expecting him to be next to me up front so we were a beat or two late beginning to process in.

Other than the dance, the ball was pretty relaxing too. I sat around and chatted mostly. I’m sure that’s going to shock all of you, me sitting around and talking.

Crashed at Roberto and Helena’s, and it was very nice there. They really went out of their way for their guests and Roberto cooks a mean breakfast.

Gulf Wars

OK, so I’m a tad late with my Gulf Wars post, given that I’ve been to an event since that point πŸ™‚

I caravaned down with HRM Tristram, Caillin, Duncan Fathmbjorn, Seonaid, Maximus, and Genevieve. An interesting bunch. The trip was pretty uneventful, but in Sikeston an omen for the reign occurred. We passed Lambert’s to go to a Chinese buffet. It seems Tristram is partial to Chinese trough. It’s a good thing I like Chinese.

We got there on Sunday night and slept in the parking lot until Monday morning when they let us troll in. I got as much sleep as expected in a packed car. I got set up by noon or so and took a real nap. πŸ™‚

And then was ready for the war. Gulf was incredible for me. It was very different to be in and amongst the royalty. Usually at wars, I figure that royalty is best left alone :).

I also participated in as much stuff as I could. I fought in the Diamond Tourney, which was very interesting. You see, it was a team tourney with two fighters, one of which was a rapier fighter. Each team represented a kingdom or principality. My partner was HE Rodrigo of Northshield. There were six kingdoms represented. At one point, I was the only heavy fighter there. It’s too bad this didn’t continue, I think it would have been hilarious for the only kingdom to be represented in a combined tourney be the only kingdom that doesn’t have rapier fighting. Of course, a lot of Calontir teased me about me becoming a fencer.

The other individual thing I fought in was the Champions tourney, which really wasn’t a tourney but rather an exhibition. HRM Ansteorra and HRM Trimaris took turns picking a champion and the two champions would fight for the crowd. There were 15 bouts. Thanks to HRM Gunnar of Meridies, who allowed Calontir an extra slot, I was given the opportunity to fight Count Valharic of Atlantia. It wasn’t a long bout, he’s an extremely fast lefty, but I made him work a little bit I think :). Anyway, it was an incredible honor to be out in front of the Knowne World like that. Their Majesties Ansteorra gave me this cool Black Star pin as well, which I have to say rocks.

The battles were a lot of fun this year. It is very strange to me how much fun Gulf has become and how little fun Estrella has become. I don’t know why, either. My first couple of Gulfs were nowhere near as much fun as Estrella, but since they moved back to Estrella Mountain Park it hasn’t been as much fun and Gulf has been great the last two years. I suppose this is a good thing since it’s much more likely I’ll get to go to Gulf as opposed to Estrella for the forseeable future.

Either I have gotten better fighting with 9ft spear, or Gulf Wars spearmen aren’t as good as Estrella spearmen. I had a very good war fighting spear, which I got to do before Katrine fought. I had real good bit getting myself in a sheltered sniper hole in the town battle, and had a couple of other solid runs. I wasn’t quite as effective during the ravine battle, but I don’t like the footing in the ravine much and getting killed four times by archers accounts for a lot of that. Still, at the end, Marcus picked up a scutum and just gave me a veritable buffet of targets. I do like buffets :).

The rest of the war involved fighting with Katrine. Not to pat myself on the back too much, my idea of picking a random fyrdman to partner with me to be Katrine’s guard each day worked real well. I picked my squire brother Alasdair the first day, and he did great, including throwing himself over Katrine after she had been pulled over.

Caillin was fyrded that day, which was well deserved. She had fought incredibly well in the early town, castle, and ravine battles. We as the fyrd basically forced Tristram and Katrine to do her, as they didn’t want to because she’s on retinue. She did very well in the field battle as Katrine’s guard.

Arthur got fyrded so he got to be a part of the guard during the castle battle. Calontir as a whole did awesome defending the castle. In fact, after blowing up the troops assaulting the front gate, Calontir went out and swept around the outside including this silly, wonderful, crazy solo excursion by Ferd. Unfortunately, Katrine got to watch this from the back. We put her in one of the towers so she’d be shielded from arrow fire until she was needed in the front rank of scutums.

Which of course meant that an arrow from out of nowhere hit a 3in x 3in target and hit her in the back. Best laid plans and all that.

Other highlights included walking Katrine and Tristram into Grand Court. Aiden served as Tristram’s champion. They only allowed 3 retainers per crown, so neither of us stood behind the thrones, but we stayed to escort them out. This actually meant that we could escort the Ansteorran War Banner into court so Calontir could give it back. We sang a verse of Non Nobis as we came in, which was really cool :).

I hung around Katrine quite a bit, and we had a lot of fun sitting around the fire on Friday and Saturday singing. Ferd made a scutumhenge on Friday and on Saturday, Rebecca’s tree house was created. Damn it’s good to be Calontir at war πŸ™‚

This was definitely a great war, enhanced by the opportunity to be Champion. I have to say that I’m truly a lucky man.

I’m on my way to Bellewode Symposium and am taking a break from KC rush hour traffic at a Kinko’s.

A couple of small notes. First, isn’t it frustrating how you always have something great to say when you don’t have a forum? And when you do have a forum, you forget what you were going to say.

I need to figure out a way to get my ideas that I have when I’m driving or lying in bed in the middle of the night recorded. I’m like a genius then.

Anyway, a couple of irksome notes recently. I was watching this stupid ESPN show called First and 10. The premise is two sports media people debate topics. It might be interesting but it has Woody Paige and Skip Bayless, two sportswriters who know conventional wisdom but have never questioned that wisdom. They have no clue whether that wisdom is true, apocryphal, or was true and no longer is, or whatever. They just accept it without looking at it critically.

So it leads to some very stupid stuff. The question came up as to who is the greatest shortstop ever. Bayless said Alex Rodriguez. Paige ridiculed this choice because ARod now plays 3rd for the Yankees. Actually, ARod is a fine choice, not my choice, but a fine one. Paige promoted my choice, Honus Wagner. Why is this humorous to me? Well, Paige’s argument was that ARod isn’t a shortstop because he’s playing 3rd now. Huh. Umm. Apparently Paige is not aware that Honus Wagner played 3rd too. In fact, it wasn’t until Wagner’s 5th year that he began playing short a lot and it wasn’t until his 7th that Wagner starting playing short almost exclusively. All in all, Wagner played about a 3rd of his games at other positions. Most people think of Wagner as a shortstop sure, but for someone who is promoting himself as an expert to not know this? Idiotic.

Bayless’ counter-argument, was to point out that ARod has hit for more power than Honus did. Again, a supposed expert not looking into things critically. Yes, ARod has hit more homers, but Wagner would have hit a ton had baseball of his career been like baseball of ARod’s career. ARod has a career .574 slugging percentage compared to the league average during his career of .436. He’s also lead baseball in slugging once. ARod has been 32% better than the average, which is fantastic.

Wagner? .466 career slugging when .351 was average, or 33% better than average. He also lead the majors in slugging 6 times, including in 1908 when he had a .542 slugging percentage, 90 points better than the next guy at .452.

Again, Bayless, who is commonly clueless, presents himself as an expert but doesn’t do the work to justify his self-aggrandizement. He’s happy criticizing players for being too rich, too good, too this, too that, and in almost all cases better than he is.

Well, almost out of power, probably should go.

Random Music

One of the longest running and most enjoyable bloggers out there is Aaron Gleeman (www.aarongleeman.com. Yesterday he randomized his IPod and listed the first 40 songs that were shown. I don’t have an IPod, but WinAmp can do the same thing, so, here are my 40 random songs.

Van Halen – Top Jimmy
Ekova – Starlight in Daden (Aurora Remix)
Eddie Van Halen and Brian May – Starfleet
Bob Marley – Jamming
Wolgemut – Processional
Altramar – O Columba insignis signifer
King’s X – I Can’t Help It
Judas Priest – Breaking The Law
Dream Theater – War Inside My Head
Peter Tosh – Mega Dog
CSN & Y – Teach Your Children Well
The Cult – Big Neon Glitter
Michael Longcor (Duke Moonwulf) – The Irish Guard
Stevie Nicks – Landslide
Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
Yngwie Malmsteen – The Sails of Charon
Blind Melon – No Rain
Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Kingston Air Force – There’s a Riot Gwaan
B-52s – Love Shack
Smashing Pumpkins – Bury Me
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem – Whack Fol The Diddle Oh
Korn – Blind
The Calais Consort – Cuckolds All A Row
Wolgemut – Schottish
Led Zeppelin – Rain Song
Conn MacNeill – Echoes
Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
King’s X – Skeptical Winds
Enya – Caribbean Blue
Ozzy Osbourne (with Randy Rhoads) – Paranoid
Blues Brothers – Rubber Biscuit
Rush – Something For Nothing
Flogging Molly – To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
The Ealdormere Bardic College – Lifeblood
David Munrow; Early Music Consort Of London – Je ne puis – Amors me tienent – Veritatem
Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide
Dropkick Murphys – Time To Go
The Who – Squeeze Box

Leave me comments and I’m curious what you all came up with.

Here’s the second post. I separated them because it seemed like the thing to do as I talk about my real life in the first and talk about my hobby in the second.

September is a long way away, but I suspect it’s going to fly by. This is going to be the most interesting reign I will have seen because for the first time I’m seeing it from the inside. I’ve never been part of retinue before.

Yesterday, though, I swore my fealty to TRMs Tristram and Katrine as Queen’s Champion.

Not surprisingly, I am incredibly excited. I have been bouncing since Her Majesty asked me at Estrella. The request came from nowhere, as while I have spent time with Her Majesty and her husband Eric St. Leger at events before, I did not know them very well. I think I’ll know them better in six months, :).

Some early notes. I’ve never dealt with Kingdom regalia before. Now I have in my possession the Champion’s Axe; the Champion’s Circlet, a replica of the circlets that the Warlords of Calontir wore; two Queen’s Favor Gloves, one beaded, one painted; several Champion’s Tabards, including a beautiful embroidered tunic donated by HE Magnus, a great friend, who was Queen’s Champion a few reigns ago. The history that each of these items has is amazing, simply holding these things is an incredible honor and a great responsibility. They’re also a great inspiration. I can already tell that if I even think about relaxing any, a simple look at one of these items and my enthusiasm will be reinvigorated.

The overall responsibility is awesome. I felt a great responsiblity to live up to the ideals of the fyrd when I was fyrded three years ago. This is a hundred times more. I am now a representative of the Crown and Kingdom of Calontir and a missed shot or a crass word or a mistreatment of someone now does not reflect on me but on something much greater than me, something I truly love. I am both terrified and overjoyed at the prospect of living up to this ideal.

More mundanely, I am very glad I went and got gel-soles for my boots last week. After two courts, fighting, and helping clean site, my feet and knees are sore. I shudder to think what it would have been like without the new soles.

Stamina is my greatest concern, in fact. I’m very concerned with being able to keep up at Gulf Wars, but most importantly at Pennsic. Her Majesty’s request has crystallized my goal of exercising into a need, so that’s a positive. And it’s not just feet. The axe that the Queen’s Champion bears is very heavy.

So Coronation is over. Gulf Wars is next week, and I am thanking my lucky stars that I have spent the past two summers up in Ealdormere. Those summers gave me a much better understanding and appreciation of the SCA as a whole I feel, and I am glad for the experience as I approach a foreign war as a person who will interact with Royals and peers of other Kingdoms. It should be one of the most interesting and fun wars I’ve ever been to.

Anyway, much of my LiveJournal over the next six months will consist of me trying to record my experiences as Queen’s Champion. No matter what the next few months entail, I know that I’m going to grow as a person because I’m going to have to to fulfill my obligations.

Well, I realize it’s been a while, but you’re going to get two posts today.

The first post is the basic business post. My applications are still coming back but I’m pleased to have had three acceptance letters this time, so I know I’ll be going somewhere.

The front-runner thus far is the University of Missouri. I had a nice lunch with the prof who’d be my coordinator. She’s a smart, energetic, enthusiastic, very nice person and I think I’d really like working with her. She also would be able to let me work on Anglo-Saxon military stuff, which I didn’t think I would do because of Dr. Richard Abels. Abels is the man when it comes to Anglo-Saxon military history and I would have loved to work with him but he teaches at the US Naval Academy. I had decided that if I could not work with him, it made little sense for me to compete against him. However, it seems possible that I might be able to add him to my committee and receive his guidance with research while at Mizzou so this is extremely appealing.

Probably second is Saint Louis University. I’m still unsure of monetary details so I don’t know exactly where to rank it, but the topic and the prof are not as exciting as at Mizzou.

Third is the University of Arkansas, but the same things I said about Saint Louis apply here as well.

I’m still waiting on apps from Minnesota, Chicago, Toronto, and Ohio State so my list may not be complete yet, but it’s great to know I’m going somewhere in September and awesome that I have choices.

Applications

I hate the doctoral application process. This process is worse than writing my thesis and dealing with all of the hoops at the Grad School at Wichita State. That doesn’t seem right to me.

Eight of the 11 apps I’m sending out just went out. They are:
Ohio State, Minnesota, Saint Louis University, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, University of Chicago

The other 3 are:
University of Toronto, both History and the Centre for Medieval Studies. These are waiting because I’m not sure I did the Centre’s reference letters correctly, so I need to double check on that.
Western Michigan University. This one is waiting because they have multiple sets of instructions on their website and forms and I do not know what to send. I’ll call them and figure that out.

But they’re basically ready to send, once I clear those up. I hope to have WMU sent out tomorrow and UT sent out before Christmas, though that’s depending upon profs if I have to get new letters. Worst case on the UT ones, I send them out without the right letter of reference forms.

I’m guessing I’ll know more in late February, early March. Maybe I’ll have everything by Gulf Wars and can start making plans. We’ll see. Anyway, the bread is on the water and here’s hoping something positive comes back, unlike last year.

The process sucks though. I pretty much had to write or enter everything multiple times for each entry. There is no need for this redundancy in this day and age. The online apps are better, but they aren’t fully utilized, I suspect, or it would work better.

Anyway, the process has driven me to drink, or at least given me an excuse to go the Field House.

All Time Team

This is going to be a long post. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

While I was driving to Wichita today, I decided to create my all-time baseball team. The rules are of course not simple. This isn’t the player who is the best at each position, rather, this is a team I would create of players in history. To qualify, a player has to have played not only the position, but also the role in mind for at least one year. In other words, I can’t choose Jeff Bagwell to back up Lou Gehrig because Bagwell wasn’t really a backup in the majors. I am also saying that players who are currently extremely young can be chosen for backup roles, catcher will provide the obvious example for this rule.

Anyway, here it is. I suspect there will be a lot of differences of opinion on this. This list was not created from any exhaustive search so I’m sure I’m going to miss someone, but here it is.

Catcher

I’m going to make an exception to my rule of each player fitting their role immediately at catcher, but I believe I can justify it. I’m picking Yogi Berra, but not just at catcher. I’m going to take advantage of his versatility and play him at C, 1B, LF and DH. In other words, he’s likely to be in the lineup most days, just not necessarily in the same position. This allows me to have another starting catcher in my mind because both will get enough playing time that they won’t complain. That other starting catcher is Pudge Rodriguez. I agree that Johnny Bench is probably better, but I chose IRod because I wanted to have one Texas Ranger on the team and because IRod has shown a wide variety of skills, including stealing bases.

Opinions and fiction of person misplaced in time.