Catching Up

Greetings all. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to post.

On Thursday the 12th, Hereward and I went out and watched a soccer game at a bar, and stayed out wayyy late, so on Friday both he and I decided to stay in and relax.

Saturday was a big day. First was USA-Austria in the U20 World Cup. This was a very good game, but with a poor result. US scored a lovely goal early on, and kept putting pressure on the Austrians but couldn’t get that second goal in. Late in the first half, the Austrians put in a scrappy goal. They duplicated this feat in extra time, and ended up taking the game 2-1. The US played very well though, and unlike the Uruguay game, there was no silliness from either team though the referee was horrid. The refereeing overall at the World Cup was rubbish, and is something FIFA needs to fix if it ever wants to see soccer really big in the US.

During the game, however, it rained and was kind of icky. We went and ate and Hereward and Jocelyn got spiked coffees. I had a beer. You warm up your way, I’ll warm up mine 🙂 After that was the new Harry Potter movie, which I liked a lot. In fact, this may be my favorite of the movies thus far. Jocelyn went home then, but Hereward and I went to a really good bar called the Hideout. They happened to have the Mahones, an Irish punk band, so we jammed to that for the rest of the evening. The Mahones rocked.

The bad news was that at fighter practice the next day my knees were very tired from the dancing all night. Still, it was a very good practice, something like 12 of us in armor, and several good melees.

This was the day that Eoforwic threw a party for my birthday. After practice, we went over to Marchmount House and had a very good time. I made gin and tonics, much to the enjoyment and chagrin of Hans. After the gin ran out, we had vodka tonics; after the tonic ran out, we had vodka lemonades. It was a really good party, especially since I’m not used to having birthday parties in my honor.

Monday night, my actual birthday, Drew and Donna invited Hereward and I to dinner. It was a nice relaxing dinner. They hadn’t realized it was my birthday when they made the invite, and they apparently scrambled to get a cake at the last moment. It was a very tasty cake and a good time with great people and a cute baby.

OK, there is lots more to chat about, but right now, I’m going to get ready and head to Pennsic. More later.

…And Justice For All

Rarely have I seen a more just result to a sporting event than in the USA v. Uruguay game yesterday.

Hereward warned me that Uruguay was a chippy team, relying on gamesmanship and shady play more than their skill. Unfortunately, he was very correct. Uruguay had a goodly amount of skill, and when they used it, they were impressive, but….

At least four times, they hit or kicked a US player during dead ball situations while the ref wasn’t looking. They obviously aimed at hurting Josie Altidore, the best scorer on the US team, and they did so. One particular trick they have down is leading with a knee on a high ball while opponents are going after it with their head. After the collision, they try to get a yellow card because their knee is in pain after colliding with the other guy’s head. Essentially they play like Ty Cobb at his meanest.

But they don’t even have the honor that Cobb had. They whined about every call, even some of the ones that went their way. They flopped dozens of times. They would make an obvious foul in a relatively unimportant place, and it would be a huge deal. After they got up a goal, they started stalling, obviously stalling, ridiculously obviously stalling. Then, when the US went up a goal late, they whined and complained about the US playing deliberately, except all the US was doing was playing at average speed, not stalling. Hereward says this kind of chippiness and gamesmanship is the standard from South American soccer, which is too bad, because they’re such good players.

The Uruguayans had a ton of skill last night, but they spent their time being chippy. For those who run the game who want to see it become more popular in the US, stopping the whining, stopping the acting, stopping the sleazy gamesmanship, and stopping the dirty play would be the place to start.

But this post is about justice. The US team handled all of the crap very well. They didn’t retaliate, they just plugged on. They didn’t really get into their game until late, because Uruguay did a good job of taking the US strategy away from them, but they never got discouraged.

Uruguay got a goal fairly late in the match, and it seemed like they would knock the States out. This is when the Uruguayans started stalling and wasting time blatantly. However, with about 5 minutes left, the US put a goal in more with luck and pluckiness than skill.

The game went to extra time and with about 10 minutes left, the US put in another goal from hard work. At this point, the game changed quite a bit. The Uruguayans started attacking, but the US had some great counter-attacks. Justice was served when the ref blew the final whistle.

The excitement, unfortunately, was not over. Apparently, the Uruguayans were so incensed at losing to the US that one of them spit into an American’s face and one launched a karate kick at a US player. A brawl ensued, not surprisingly, if these initial reports are true.

The US faces some tough challenges ahead. What’s the injury status of Altidore and Zizzo from this game? The ref gave the US 5 yellow cards (ridiculous actually, he gave out like 7 yellows in a 10 minute stretch) and with the brawl after the game, will the US have a full squad against Austria on Saturday?

But it was a great result. I was really impressed with the US team’s poise and courage and grit. They deserve a ton of praise and respect.

An American Idiot in the Great White North

Well, it’s been a few great days so it’s time to pass on what’s happened.

Let’s see, last time we heard from our fearless hero he had just gotten back from the war. Well, I had a fantastic and moderately productive week.

Tuesday I was a slug. I was just totally beat after all of the traveling. Hereward and I went to lunch and hung out for a couple of pints, but that was all I had in me. Wednesday was significantly more productive. I went to the Dictionary of Old English project and chatted with them. I got a copy of the Old English Corpus and have really enjoyed prowling around through it. We also chatted about their resources and plans. Dr. Antoinette diPaulo Healey is in charge of the project and she is wonderfully enthusiastic and charming. I was fortunate to get there on cake day, the day that they have cake for all of the birthdays during the month with their tea. It was very informative and also very charming. Grandma would have enjoyed it too.

Wednesday night Hereward and I went to the Eoforwic meeting. The meeting was supposed to be over the ins and outs of Pennsic for new people, but there was only one person there who had never been to Pennsic, so we went to the bar. We hung out at O’Grady’s having a fabulous time. Eventually Hereward had to go to another pub to watch Toronto FC play Real Salt Lake with the Toronto FC supporters. After everyone had left O’Grady’s I went and joined him and we got pretty drunk together. Tomorrow, I would be joining Eoforwic again but I’ll be doing something else. More later on that.

Thursday I spent with Medb. It was really good to reconnect some with her. We haven’t chatted as much over the past few years as much as I would have liked, but we’re both so busy and I’m so bad about keeping contact. We ate at a really good Chinese buffet and watched Labyrinth. I hadn’t seen that in a looooong time. It has aged some, but still a fun movie and Jim Henson was a magician.

Friday night was pretty laid back, but Jocelyn and I had a good time on Saturday. She is breaking up with her husband for many of the same reasons I broke up with Holly. We talked a lot at Trillies about our respective experiences, and the similarities are striking. She’s going to counseling, which helped both Holly and I quite a bit, and we are enjoying comparing notes. Saturday, we went to the ROM and walked around for four hours, then went to see Ocean’s 13, then had dinner at a Korean table grill place. A nice relaxing evening between friends.

Sunday was more relaxation amongst friends. I went out to Adrielle and Nigel’s place in Lindsay. Berend, Mahault, Colyne, and Thorfinna were also there. We didn’t do much of anything but sit around, chat, grill out, and pet Gilchrist the dog. The big highlight has to be the ice cream truck. I have to say that Berend does mentally handicapped wayyyyy too well.

Monday was kind of an odd night, much of which was spent in Lakeside Park enjoying the sights. On the one hand was Lake Ontario, and I have always felt the call of large bodies of water. Other people might see a nothingness of gray or blue, but I see a shifting kaleidescope of energy and soul. I also was able to do some anthropological research as I watched the people at the part.

Then we get to tonight. Hereward and I just got back from the Weird Al concert. It was amazing. First of all, the concert was at Massey Hall. Massey Hall was built in 1894 and it is a fantastic place to watch a concert. We were 16 rows back, essentially in the center, and could see pretty much every detail. Al puts on an incredibly detailed show. The music is the music, but the band changes costumes a lot, and during those breaks he has mock interviews with various people on the screen behind him. These are absolutely hilarious, and give him time to put on the Amish costume or the Jedi costume or the Fat costume or the Nirvana costume or the…, well you get the picture. His bandmates are also constantly changing as well. One great highlight was the harmonica guy. This guy was one of the roadies who during Al’s parody of Billy Joel’s Piano Man came out and held the harmonica. He was very funny, shaking out the spit, combing his hair, looking bored waiting for his moment. Later, he came out in drag for another song. The concert was a little over 2 hours long and it flew by. It was, as I say, amazing. Perhaps the most ironic moment was hearing Weird Al do Canadian Idiot in a century old Toronto venue. Awesome.

One of the things that Hereward and I have been doing is watching lots of soccer. He’s a rabid fan, and I really enjoy the game, so we’ve seen lots of games. It is especially enjoyable since the US has done really well so far in the FIFA U-20 Cup. Tomorrow, instead of going to Eoforwic’s meeting, he and I will be going to see the US play Uruguay in the round of 16. I’m pumped.

Thursday, we’re going to the Dora Keogh, an Irish pub that is supposed to have fantastic Irish music. I don’t know what’s happening on Friday or Saturday, but I am definitely looking forward to Eoforwic fighter practice on Sunday. More later, eh?

Trillium War

I am such a geek about SCA wars. They are truly my natural habitat.

So, I get to Trillium War and Berend and Mahault and Adrielle welcome me wonderfully. They help with the tent and I get set up quickly and smoothly. Mahault and Adrielle were the autocrats of the event and they did a fine job, but I have to say that Berend was amazing. He never seemed to stop working. He cooked all of our meals, helped everyone out around the camp, was in charge of the restrooms for the event, and did even more. He even made a knife out of a file during the event.

I got there on Wednesday so what that really meant was that I had two full days of lounging, which I think I needed. I sang a few songs, drank a few beers, and generally just laid around. It was great. By Friday night, Eoforwic had started to appear and suddenly I had almost too many people to hang out with. It’s terrible having friends ;).

The fighting on Saturday went really well. I think I had one of my best days in a while and had a great time. I felt much slower on Sunday and got my head handed to me (almost literally), but I still had a great time. I think some of my slowness on Sunday was due to facing off (and losing) to Ed the Red quite a few times during the day.

I, of course, did quite a bit of singing at the war. Ealdormere does have a very nice bardic community and the make me feel very welcome to perform.

I have to say, actually, that I was made to feel very welcome for the whole event. Many people went out of their way here, but I have to mention Her Grace Genevieve, who seemed to make it her mission to ensure I had beer. I’d be somewhere randomly on the site and she’d just come get my mug and fill it. Her beer-dar is amazing.

I also had a great time reconnecting with Eoforwic. Pennsic is a wonderful thing, and I enjoy my time with Ealdormere and Eoforwic there, but the problem is that we’re all so busy we can hardly sit down and talk. I was able to do some of that, and I’m really looking forward to going to meetings and practices over the next month.

Now I am firmly entrenched at Hereward’s and we’ve watched quite a lot of soccer. I suspect we’ll watch more through the month. It’s been fun to get back into Toronto rhythms and I’m really looking forward to this month.

Along the Coast

As I mentioned earlier, I’m a naval history geek, so going to Annapolis meant not only meeting with Richard Abels but also seeing the Naval Academy campus. I really couldn’t just stroll around as much as I wanted, but it is a beautiful campus.

The meeting with Dr. Abels went well. He gave me some very useful tips and pointers as well as a copy of a new article he’s publishing. We ate at a wonderful Irish bar a few blocks from the campus called Galway Bay. It’s well worth visiting if you’re in the area.

Later that night I went to an Atlantian fighter practice. I have to say I did very poorly. I could barely fight given the humidity and heat. I really can’t use that as an excuse, given my time at Lilies, but I could barely fight 10 bouts. It was sad.

The next day I headed up the coast to Connecticut to see Marty and Julie. I made ridiculously good time and the only traffic I encountered was at the George Washington Bridge. Hence I was real early. Anyway, they were great hosts. We did the grilling thing and then went for really good ice cream. It was very nice to finally meet Julie and to hang out with Marty again. It’s amazing how with some friends you fall back into a relaxed conversation as though you see them every day.

After that was the trip up to Canada. This too went smoothly. I made good time here too and so I was all set up easily in time to kick back and relax during the evening. More on Trillies next.