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Pennsic Prep DOES Get Easier

I first went to Pennsic XVI, I think. Brad Freeman and I realized we could go on Tuesday of what was then a one week event, I made some phone calls and got camping space. We went up Thursday in his Civic, which wasn't terribly loaded. But then neither of us had armor, we only had a backpacking tent. And probably 3 sets of garb between us. No, we didn't share. 

Since then, Pennsic prep has become more epic. But I've noticed that over the past few years, things have settled down. (Not so much for Thjora, who is sewing like a fiend for Her Highness, but that's not related to our camp prep.) We now haul approximately 17 times as much stuff, but it is more or less the same stuff that we've been hauling for five or more years. So we know where it goes, how it fits, and most importantly, we already have it. We aren't hustling to make it before the War.
Which is, I suppose, my way of saying: Take heart and keep at it. Pennsic does get easier after, oh, ten tries or so. Though I wonder if I'll be able to figure out how to pack if we get a new vehicle. That Ranger has been to Pennsic every year since 1993!
Packed Ranger
That said, there are always things that need repair or replacement before Pennsic. Here's my current list:
  • Finish my new, pretty evil polearm. I need a name for it too!
  • Refurbish my vambraces--which pair depends on whether I can find the old, pretty right arm one. Where is it?!
  • Hang and cover and paint my new Justus Ultra-Curved 13th Century Heater, which I should see for the first time tonight!
  • Recover the small aluminum shield.
  • Make a scabbard and belt for my new rattan cross hilted sword. Philip is making the cross hilt.
  • Tighten up my gauntlet lacings.
  • Repad the insides of my plastic knees.
  • Final strap and reinforce work on Kit's portmanteau
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Seattle Vacation

We're having a lovely time out here in Seattle, but why is it that when I'm on vacation, I start to get antsy to work on SCA projects that I didn't bring?

I find myself thinking about Caleb's portmanteau, new vambraces, repairs to current gear, and Pennsic prep.
Hopefully that won't fade by the time we get back!
Here's a shot of the trail near Snoqualmie Falls, which we toured Wednesday.
Hoh Rain Forest
Oh, and wakeboarding is harder than hitting a duke.
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Golden Rose Tourney I

We had a great time at Golden Rose Tourney this weekend. Even with the heat, the dehydration, a blown fan belt and water pump, what a great time.

Ella & Master Kit warming up on the raiper field.
Thanks again to Baron Girard and Baroness Guienevra for hosting us and chauffeuring us all around Raleigh in search of a car repair place open on Sunday. (For your future reference, the answer is always "Sears.")
Dukes Alaric & Michael fighting bastard sword.
I'm very very pleased to report that HRH Kalisa's team, the one I helped organize, went all the way to the finals and came oh so close to winning. I'm very happy with everyone's performance--the whole team backed each other up: Matteo winning a tough fight during a round where I lost, Philip and Amos (the "purple teardrop men") going (I think) undefeated until the finals, just a great showing all around.
We also looked damn good! I was surprised to have the only crest on the field, though Susan made a lovely wreath of flowers for Philip's helmet. Where are your pictures from the tourney?
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Workout Progress

Back on 2/25 I started my new workout. Let's see how I've progressed in a little over two months:

Then: 5 x 5 squats with a bar.
I had never done free squats before, so even though I felt silly, I just did them with the bar. Even the last set was easy, but still, I feel it in my quads today.
Now: 1 x 5 squats @ 90 lbs, 4 x 5 @ 110. Just a little sore.

Then: 3 x 5 deadlifts with a bar.
These were very straightforward and also easy. So ridiculously easy that after one set with the bar, I threw 20 lbs. on it. Still stupidly easy.
Now: 5 x @ 90 lbs and 5x 2 @ 110lbs and 5x 2 @120 lbs on the deadlift platform, which lets you lower the bar to your toes.

Then: 3 x 15 push ups.
These nearly kicked my ass. The first set of 15 was easy. The third was nearly not finished.
Now: I mix push ups in other times. Did 15 yesterday.

Then: 5 x 5 horizontal pull-ups or five sets of as many regular chin-ups or pull-ups you can crank out.
These did kick my ass. So I did 6/5/5 pull/chin ups, and then the inverted bench press came open long enough for me to finish with 2 sets of 15 horizontal pull ups.
Now: 5 full vertical pullups 4 times, 6 on the last set. Then, after the back hyperextensions, I came back and did 5 more! This is the most massive change since Feb.

Then: Skipped the back hyperextensions because I didn't know how to do them.
Now: 2 x 15 @ 35 lbs back hyperextensions, 1 x 15 @25 lbs. I'm being careful here, as I really feel it in my back muscles afterwards.

Then: 3 x 5/15 of ab exercise of choice. "Planks" were recommended.
I tried these. My oblique abdominal complained after 2 and made me stop at three. I need to figure out another way to exercise my abs.
Now: I've dropped these from my workout. I think I'm getting some ab work with the pullups, but that damn oblique ab muscle still complains when I try other stuff.

Then: After Effects: I'm moderately sore today, in a way that I didn't expect. Normally I get sore two days out from a workout. Maybe that means I'll be too stiff to move tomorrow.
Now: I get a little sore. Not bad. Just enough to know I've worked out.

Then: Weight: 196 lbs.
Now: Weight 200 lbs and all the same pants fit. Interestingly, all that weight came on in about the first 5 weeks.

It is time to revise the workout for more progress, most notably the addition of bench presses. If I keep this up, I think I may be in the best shape of my life by Pennsic!

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Small Banner Design

Considering that every year at Pennsic, at least one of the big battles is so crowded and confused that the cart goes AWOL, I thought to steal dear Sir Roisin's idea and make a banner that accompanies the cart. And for other random flashy uses too.

Smaller and more portable than the standard, I want it to look Norman of course. This will be made using the same techniques and materials as the standards though.

Here's my first idea, but I'm not satisfied. Frankly, I wish it was a little flashier. At the same time, I'm keenly aware of the limitations of style in early period small banners. They did not typically have mottos or such on them. Even using a badge is an anachronism, since they were pretty rare prior to the 14th century.


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Why Should the Fun be Hidden on the Armor Archive?

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Finally, Some Pics. And a legend!

Third outing for the new helm, and this time Al Cortez kindly took some pics. Obviously, I need to make sure my ties are tucked.

Practice was great last night, with more than 5 fights going on at a time, probably 18 people in armor through the evening.

It was especially nice to see Rainulf out. He gave me a very special high speed chiropractic adjustment right on my cervical vertebra.

The lighting was bad, and Aloicius was using a camera he wasn't familiar with (as the unpublished picture of his feet showed) but he did manage to get a few pics of the new helm.

Lots of interest in Isenfir for doing this again! It was Philip, Al, Leo and me this time, but next time it could well also be Kelby, his son, Aethelwolf, and some of the other new Isenfiri. Baron Bryce also talked about wanting to come out to Fourth Sundays, especially when the weather will allow for practice in the back yard.

I fought William, Henricus, Matthew, Patrick, Adilric, Rainulf, Sugarloaf Helm Guy Whose Name I Don't Recall, and I think a few others.

To close the evening: Dagger fights! Hooray! As pictured.

And I heard an amazing story of my legendary stature! According to one of the newer guys who had only met me once, he understood that I ride my bike to work every day.

Forty miles.

One way.

I am a monster!

This makes me wonder: What other amazing story have you heard about me? Bring out your legendary tales! Or make some up! But if you do make them up, please label them as having occurred at Sea Wars X.

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In Other News, Creak

For one reason or another or another, I have not had armor on since Holiday Faire. Until last night. That was November 22nd, so two months to the day.

This is the third week of the semester here, but the cold has been so complete the first two weeks that we did not hold practice. Yesterday the weather finally broke, with temps in the high 40's, so we were on. Rapier canceled though, for a variety of non-weather related issues.

I spent some time instructing before fighting. Audriana and Jay were two new people out. Audriana might not actually be in to armored fighting, but that was all that was on offer last night so she learned how to throw a flat snap. She's an accomplished rider, so I talked a good bit with her about Master Terafan and his plans.
Jay is a UVa alumnus, apparently with a pretty extensive martial arts background. He's also big and strong, so he could do some good work quick.
If we could get everyone out and armored up, Isenfir would have a pretty impressive bunch. Jonathan, Andrew, Jordan, Danny, Kelby, Kelby's son, Jay and I are all over 6', and all but one of those are over 6'2"! Of course the real irony there is that Sev, at 5'6 or so is the guy clearly figuring this all out fastest.

Kelby and his son whose name I don't recall, Philip, Aethelwolf and I all put on gear. Sev would have too, but he forgot his cup. I fought a good bit, it felt fine for the most part, but I could tell after fighting everyone at least one long set and Philip twice that it would be wise to stop. I still had energy, but some of the joints just weren't quite ready, and my back was starting to complain. All in time.

My new helmet is a wonder, or will be when tuned up and I'm accustomed to it. Right now I have to ask about every shot that might be light, because everything is easier to feel. "Fives" feel like "Sevens" for example. I'm going to weigh the new setup vs. the old one tonight, but I'm pretty sure the new one is a good 3 pounds lighter between the helm and the camail. Quite a difference.

The other big difference is the breaths: I can actually breathe in the new helmet. Not only is the face plate further from my mouth, allowing better air flow, but the breaths are easily 50% larger in total than with the old helmet. I'm not rebreathing old air! I never got winded last night at all.

Strangely, (because the two helms have very similar oculars) I notice some subtle changes to my visibility, but I'm sure one of those is due to the chinstrap allowing the helm to shift around a bit in ways it will not when the strap is set correctly.

Sitting here less than 24 hours later, I can already feel the muscle stiffness settling into my shoulders. The ball of my right thumb is sore. Someone put a nice bruise just above my right butt cheek and my messenger bag sits right on it when I walk. Ah, good times.

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They Come, They Go

Those of you following his journal may already know that my newest squire, Girard and his lady Guenievre have been chosen by Their Majesties to become the next baron and baroness of Windmaster's Hill. For that, we offer congratulations!

This is nearly becoming a household tradition, with Thjora and me, Edwin and Orlando and now Girard & Guenievre all being raised to the landed baronage at some point.

Girard will leave my service completely, as I did with TJ and as Edwin did. He shall be the King's man entire, as it should be. Of course he will still be welcome as he was at our hearth, camp or anywhere else, though I imagine we shall see him less for some years.

And if, at the end of his duty in Windmaster's finds him free of other obligation, we'll be happy to have him back.

In the short term, we're looking forward to Ice Castles, and one last chance for him to fight in my colors with Philip and me.

And yes, this is why I confirmed I would be coming to Ymir.

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Ice Castles & Ymir Confirmations

I'm now confirming attendance at Ymir & Ice Castles, and I'm looking for potential carpoolers either in my car or as a rider.

Thjora will be at Jamestown during Ymir, so a sucky Valentine's Day all around.

As ever with both of these, nasty weather can change these plans.

I'll day trip Ice, and stay at the Palomino for Ymir. Whether for one night or two, I'm flexible. Would not mind one night at all, but that's hard to manage considering the distance.

Riders? Drivers?

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