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Long (Island) Weekend

All safe home after a fun but exhausting weekend trip to Evja's wedding. Here's a fun fact for tourists: a trip for two from Long Island into Manhattan to visit the Metropolitan Museum, get lunch and return home runs about $100. I can't decide whether I prefer the fact that you can always get unsweetened tea up north, or the certainty of free refills in the south. My normal summer tea drinking rate would leave me $25 poorer if I indulged in it at the café in the Met.

Long Island weddings are amazing. The post-ceremony "cocktail hour" was more lavish than most buffets I be been too, at a wedding or a restaurant for that matter. And then there was the sit-down dinner!

I took lots of pictures, including some hopefully interesting ones of medieval leatherwork at the Met. But I was too sleepy this morning to remember my camera, so no uploads until tomorrow. I have documentation for ugly, poorly made helmets now!

The pups survived without excessive trauma. According to the house sitter, they spent most of the weekend "staring at the driveway, waiting for you to come home."

The 4.5 hour trip from Maryland to Long Island turned into a 7 hour trip from Long Island to Maryland.

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Long Island Wedding

We're off to NY this afternoon for Evja's wedding. Tomorrow we'll check out the Met and some other attractions before the rehearsal dinner. Watch this space for wedding and trip pictures, and have fun at Last Chance.

And Happy Birthday on Sunday to Clare, our favorite book girl!

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Winner of the "Surprised by His Search Results" Prize

In looking over my web stats for just now, it was very interesting to see what sort of Google (or other search engine) entry brought up this site as a result. Many were understandable:

laurel atlantia

vair and ermine sca

de la flamme sca thjora

amazing sca battles

sir corby atlantia email

pennsic blog

but check out the terms used by the last two searchers who ended up here!

kiera knightly

kiera king arthur sex scene knightly

I'll bet that was one confused horny teenager.

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Make a Shield for Armored Combat

This article should help you correctly hang an already curved and shaped shield blank. It doesn't tell you how to make a blank and for now, it does not discuss covering, edging or painting. But watch this space for more on those subjects.

A few notes about shields: Though many beginners make their first shield from a flat piece of plywood, flat shields have a significant disadvantage. Any three dimensional object has a center of balance that must be measured in three dimensions: height, width and depth. Most people overlook the last of these when thinking of their shield, because a shield isn't very deep. However, when using a shield that's strapped to your arm, you want your elbow to be as close as possible to the center of balance of the shield, so that it hangs in the right position without the wearer having to constantly fight the shield's attempt to follow gravity to its balanced state. With a flat shield, height and width balance points may be in exactly the same place as for a curved shield, but the depth balance point is inside the body of the material that makes up the shield. There's no way to get your arm inside the shield's point of balance. Because of that, a flat shield tries to rotate away from the strap it's hung on, usually making the top fall away from your head and the tip rotate toward the leg. To overcome this, flat shield users have to constantly correct their shield into the proper position.

With a curved shield, the front-to-back balance point moves to a spot behind the inside face of the shield, exactly where you want to put your elbow. That's because much of the shield is curved around that point.

Incidentally, this is why center grip shields have handles that are even with the face of the shield and a boss on the front to protect the hand. It's important for the hand to be at the balance point of the shield with a center grip, and in most cases that balance point is in the middle of the shield material.

Many thanks to my knight, Sir TJ for showing me how to do this right the first time.

Now read on for the actual "how to" section.

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Turn a Washer into a Quatrefoil

Quatrefoil washer

What you need:

Big washers to fit your 1/4" bolts


A chisel for metal or masonry, not for wood

A hard surface, preferably an anvil

Eye protection (my lawyer made me say that)

A ball peen hammer

Basic eye-hand coordination

A grinder makes them even better, allowing you to more distinctly shape the circle into a petal.

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My heart is filled with gladness when I see

Strong castles besieged, stockades broken and overwhelmed,

Many vassals struck down,

Horses of the dead and wounded roving at random.

And when Battle is joined, let all men of good lineage

Think of naught but the breaking of heads and arms,

For it is better to die than to be vanquished and live...

I tell you I have no such joy as when I hear the shout

"On! On!" from both sides and the neighing of riderless steeds,

And groans of "Help me!" Help me!"

And when I see both great and small

Fall in ditches and on the grass

And see the dead transfixed by spear shafts!

Lords, mortgage your domains, castles, cities, but never give up war!

Bertrand de Boron, Vicomte de Hauteforte, a 13th c nobleman of Aquitaine

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I Wish this Site had an Article on...

Susanna's Perspective on 10 years of being a female fighter in Atlantia
Colin's instructions on being everyone's friend
Evja's professional opinion on the SCA's love of waivers, and litigiousness and the SCA in general.
Philip's guide to recovery from an injury
Edwin on period sword and buckler research and his experience.
A retelling of anyone's favorite SCA moment.
Anyone's story about their first fight practice or first exposure to the SCA.

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Pennsic Supper Clubs

Once again, Vair & Ermine has no formal meal plan. But as in years past, there are folks in camp who would like to cook now and then and eat the cooking of others in return. Since it is almost as much work to cook for 2 as it is to cook for 10, if several couples get together and trade off the cooking and cleaning duties each evening, many people get fed with relatively little work. For more detail, see the forums.

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Thoughts on Squires and Squiring

Taking or becoming a squire should not be entered into lightly. Act in haste, repent at leisure.

When considering squirehood, make sure both parties understand the whole deal. Talk about every facet of the job and the relationship as each of you see it, so there are no surprises.

I was lucky in my squiring, that Sir TJ was a very easy-going knight who never had any surprises for me. Lucky because we did not discuss things as we should have, and there were several times I had to go to him and ask "Hey, is this the right idea? Is this OK?"

Well, my squires know exactly what I expect of them in every way I can think of before I ever take them. And the process of explaining all that ahead of time helps them get over any reluctance they may have to bring something to me after they've squired.

Here are actual examples of the things I cover with my potential squires:

  • belts - which, how many
  • other symbols of squiring - allowed?
  • the difference between a request and an order
  • when they must fight
  • Pennsic camp arrangements
  • heraldry, specifically household surcoats
  • men at arms
  • what I mean by "household"

Do you know your pontenial/current knight's/squire's answers to all those topics? If you're already in a household (or heading one!) then get them straight. If you're thinking of joining one or asking someone to join one, then get these clear. And of course, there are other topics just as important to cover.

All that said, it mostly doesn't matter what kind of household a peer builds. Only that everyone joining the household knew what they were in for before they joined. Do you want to be part of a group that runs with military discipline and organization? Fine. Prefer to find some guys who just want to wear matching surcoats and drink beer together? Okay. But imagine the problems that occur of someone expecting the latter joins the former.

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Thjora's Pelican Ceremony

Submitted by Genevieve some time ago, now resurrected from the depths of the database.

With Your Majesties' permission, may I stand so that I might be heard by both You and Your assembled court?

I am Elisabeth MacAlester, Companion of Their Majesties' Orders of the Laurel and the Pelican. Those who have been honored with these sibling Peerages bear upon their breasts the emblem of a pelican feeding her chicks, surrounded by the leaves of the laurel.

The laurel, the emblem of the arts, shelters the bird, surrounding it with beauty and grace, as the beauty and grace of so many ancient arts surround us here in Atlantia. But it is the pelican, the symbol of service, that lies at the heart of the emblem, as service lies in the hearts of men.

There is one among Your court who has long since been elevated to Your Order of the Laurel. And this is rightly so, for she fills our lives with clothing, furniture, jewelry, and countless other objects of grace and beauty. But so, too--through her long work with the University of Atlantia and other of Your Majesty's institutions--does she offer her whole heart in service to You and to this fairest of Kingdoms. And I would beg Your Majesties, at this time, to offer her membership in Your most noble Order of the Pelican.

With Your Majesties' permission, may I stand so that I might be heard by both You and Your assembled court?

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