Thursday, October 13, 2011

My first time in the SCA

I was first introduced to the SCA in August of 1991. A female friend of mine and I had been talking about our different interests and I mentioned a fascination with knights and the middle ages. She started telling me about this group she participated in now and then. She mentioned that there was a small intimate event coming up and invited me to join her.

She got a hold of a basic t-tunic (a shirt made of 1 piece of cloth, folded, the sides sewn up, and a head hole made) for the event so I would be in costume. A term I know know as garb. She told me that the name of the event was "Pennsic Paupers Potluck".

We met that Saturday morning and she drove to this small building in Pickens SC. There may only have been around 20 people in all at the event but they were having fun and enjoying each others company. I noticed the different types of people and garb. It was like a party.

She introduced me to some of the people there and as I talked to them a heavy set man around 5'-5" or 5'6" with red hair and a beard walked over. He had what appeared to be a crown on. The group bowed to him a little and I followed suit. It turned out that it was a baronial coronet. It was brace in color with 6 white pearls, or fax pearls on top.

He had a pleasent smile and began talking to me. He had a great sense of humor. He introduced himself as Baron Corwyn Woodward. The landed baron of Nottinghill Coill. He introduced his wife Baroness Dedrie Morgan and they began to tell me more about the SCA and all it had to offer.

After talking for a while I ventured outside where I had heard there was fighters in full armor fighting. I was in awe of the sight. Men in real armor, hitting each other with weapons. I tall fighter by the name Baron Rufus Barbarosa introduced himself. He explained he was not a landed baron but a court baron.

A landed baron is one who is in charge of lands granted to him by the kingdom. A court baron is one by name. Granted to them by the king but not in charge of any lands.

Rufus was a tall gentleman. Perhaps 6'-4". He began explain the rules of combat to me and how a blow was gauged by the fighters. He asked if I would like to try it. I agreed and he armored me up. Biggest problem was that I am 5'-4" and the only loner armor they had was Rufus's extra. It did not fit well. Definitely made me want my own.

I had a blast and wanted more. However I also saw people fencing and wanted to check it out.

I met the fighter teaching the fencing (rapier, in the SCA) and he told me the rules of combat for that form. Forgive me but I do not remember his name.I found that also very intriguing and began trying to decide.

I made my way back inside and began talking and sat down and began playing chess and also learn a couple of "new to me" games. It was a fun time and then dinner was served.

This was a pot luck so it was a mixture of all different types of foods. I sat and enjoyed the dinner and company. I even entertain a bit by juggling for the Baron and Baroness.

I found out at the event that this was a local event set up so that those that could not make it to a much larger event in Pennsylvania (aka PENNSIC XX) could still get together and enjoy some of the festivities.

I left that event with a thirst for knowledge. Since then I have spent the better part of the 20 years in the SCA trying to learn more about the time periods, weapons, clothing, fighting styles, foods, and just plain old ways of life. I try to impart this knowledge to new people in the SCA and even take time and do demos for schools, churches, and youth groups such as the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

I am not as involved as I would like due to jobs and personal life. But I am trying to get back into it more. I have so much more to learn and I want to keep learning until I die.

I have lost a lot of friends in the SCA over the years. They have past or moved away. Corwyn passed away in October of 2010. It has made me begin to look at life. I only get this chance once. I am going to live it to the hilt. My friends will be there but I need to let them know how I feel and that they mean a lot to me.

The SCA teaches honor above all. With honor I can be a good man. I will do my best and I will continue to serve in the SCA. Either on the Field as a fighter or washing dishes at an event to help take some stress from the cooks.

So if you want to know more about the SCA after this. look up or check out youtube. There is a lot of info out there and we would be honored to have you.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life's a journey

I have talked about my hobby's and what, in my mind, makes me interesting. You may be bored with me for all I know. I hope not.

I am 40 years old and seperated from my wife of only 1 1/2 years. Her choice. It was a mismatch and I know it now.

I grew up the son of a Methodist minister and school teacher. One year I was even attending a christian school where my mom was my teacher and my dad was my principal. I was screwed. But they were good parents. I tried to learn from them all I could. Even tried not to make the same mistakes they did.

They separated when I was around 10 and waited to get divorced until I was 18.

Not that my dad did not want to pay child support but because they couldn't afford to go through a divorce with a minor on in the home in the early 80's. However, my father did his best to be there when I was involved in something like football or all the normal father-son things.

I grew up with 2 older brothers. The eldest is 9 years older than me. And the other is 8 years older then me. It was almost like being an only child part of the time.

Perhaps I was a bit of a mama's boy but I tried to be the man of the house most of the time. I was a skinny little geek with broad shoulders and a mountain of hair. My how things change. I am now a bald man with a gut. But I played baseball, soccer, ran track, and then football in high school. Your typical boy. But still a geek at heart.

When I was 11, I had my first seizure and they diagnosed me with epilepsy. I was lucky to even be alive though. I actually was born not breathing and 6 months later I had spinal miningitous. So this was yet another test. I have been on medication ever since. So playing sports was my way of being a normal kid and not giving into the situation and letting it take over my life.

After high school I moved to the Greenville SC area and found myself moving in with my mom and staying. Partly because I could not afford to live on my own and partly because I wanted to make sure I had someone near in case I needed to call 911.

Over the years I have had multiple jobs but never was happy in what I was doing. Not that they were bad jobs, with an exception here and there. But I just never saw myself retiring from them.

I have a memory problem. It's not like I cannot recall things like someone with alzhiemers. It's that I will forget to put the trash out. Or go to get pizza and forget what everyone wanted. And I think it is the reason I have issues in school. Mostly in math.

My soon to be ex-wife decided that I was retarded (she said as much in our last argument) and that I was refusing to take out the trash. Perhaps there is some damage form the issues when I was a kid and the seizures. But I am a good man. I also like to hang out with my friends, which she suggested, because I had stopped hanging out just so I could be there for her. Then she decided it was like having another child in the home. I could not make her happy.

So now I was thrown out, I did not leave her, and had to move back in with my mom and brother. I had no other options. I have found that I am happier and more stable without her. I wish her all the happiness, but I know she won't listen. Oh well.

Now that I am older, i think I have gotten wiser too. At least I hope so. Not a lot of people get second chances. I am in a stable job, have great friends and an awesome family. Maybe I'll get another chance at love. Who knows? Time will tell.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Monday, October 10, 2011

War of the Wings VI

As you may have noticed, I am a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). I try to make it to an event as often as I can but schedules do not always work in my favor. This past weekend was in my favor and I was able to go to the 6th annual "War of the Wings" in Booneville NC.

I had heard good things about this event and have wanted to go but have never had the time available to go. It is a 5 day/ 4night event that pits 2 of the barony's in NC against each other. All over land, of course.

This is a kingdom level event for the kingdom of Atlantia. The kingdom covers a good part of the east coast. From South Carolina to Maryland basically.

People from all over the kingdom come together to put their skills to the test. Be it with sword or an art. Along with all manner of other skills in between. They choose a side and compete for points. As they compete and receive these points, they are added up and the side with the most points at the end is the winner.

Sometimes the points are easily won and then at other times the points are fought for as hard as possible.

Some of the different events include jousting, fencing, arts and sciences, youth combat, archery, and heavy (or armored) combat. There are many that excel in these arts and others who dabble in them.

I dabble. However I would like to excel in the heavy combat. I just need time to practice. Another luxury that does not come easily for me. It will come.

I went to this event for the first time and truly enjoyed myself. I arrived on Thursday afternoon and set up my tent. A 14x14 period pavilion with a built in shade fly on the front. I then began helping the rest of the camp I was part of set up the community (or feast hall) pavilion. Then attempted to help put up a couple of personal pavilions.

There was a lot of work involved and I ended up with a few blisters, along with my knees wanting to lock up on me after they began to swell. More than I was ready for. I sooo need to loose weight.

After all that the camp looked amazing. I give all the props to the lady of the camp, Isabelle. She had a vision and it came off amazingly. Though I got the impression she wanted more.

The majority of the household I was a guest of this year was unable to come do to one reason or another. I am sure if the whole household had been there the workload would have been very light on each person. As it was we all were exhausted by the end of set up.

I scanned the merchants area and enjoyed getting to see friends that I only see at events. Or talk to on Facebook. The camps were a mixture of period and present day tenting. Our encampment was an attempted and purely period, or as close as possible. Non-period coolers, chairs and event tenting were given covers and camouflaged so as not to take away from the feel. We also had torches to mark the sides and entrances of the camp. And a large fire bowl for warmth and light at night.

The night sky's were clear every night during the event and made it much more enjoyable. This years weather was amazing with mid-seventies in the day and upper forties at night.

We did need propane heaters in the pavilions for extra warmth but a good comforter and blanket made up for any heat that was not felt at night.

When Saturday came and all the main events were happening, I awoke with very sore knees from all the hard work I had done. They were injures when I was younger and I know the limitations of them. I figured an additional 40+ pounds and 3 hours of armored combat was not something I could handle. So I bowed out of combat for the day.

Instead I watched some of the jousting and then went to the battle field to help in other ways. I became a water bearer. Someone that makes sure that all fighters are hydrated and in good health before returning to the battle.

The battle was a large melee fight that lasted 3 hours. When  a fight dies (determined by being hit in an area that would kill if real weapons were used) they return to a flagged area that is called resurrection point. They get water and then return to the fight. At the end of the 3 hours, the side holding the most areas of the field receives the battle points.

It may not sound like a lot but with 40-60 pounds of armor, along with being hit and pushed around, you wear out quickly.

After the battle I spent the afternoon and evening with friends enjoying jokes, music, and filking.

Unfortunately I have to return home on Sunday afternoon so I could be rested up for work the next day.

With packing up and driving home, the trip was exhausting but I arrived home without incident. Even running into some friends that had left a little before me, when I stopped for a bite.

I wish I could do this every weekend but life does not allow for that so I have to plan ahead and work out a schedule. Oh well. Maybe I'll hit the lottery. ROFLMAO!!!

I have been doing this for 20 years and look forward to many more. Maybe I'll meet you at an event someday. Just keep honor and courtesy in your heart and you will always have the soul of a knight.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SCA vs LARPing

A lot of people mistake the SCA for LARPing. They are not the same

LARPing ins Live Action Role Playing. This is where a group takes a game like Dungeons and Dragons, a turn based game that uses dice and printed out characters with their stats on it, and they bring it to life.

They take bean bags and padded PVS piping and use them as weapons. They call out the damage that their weapon does and use a turn base strategy in hopes that they did enough damage to "kill" the other player. They stay in character the whole time and use fantasy rules and mythology to live like that character. Such as Dark elves and Tolkien style Dwarves. Pure fantasy

The SCA is a historical re-enactment group. Much like the "Revolutionary" or "Civil War" groups.

They recreate the middle ages to the best of their abilities to learn and teach about that time in history. They DO create a persona, like a character in LARP, but that character is based in history. Like King Henry. With their persona being someone that would have lived in the periods 600AD-1600AD. They do not recreate a specific person but someone that may have lived in that time.

They research the history of the time frame they choose. Such as clothing, food, jobs, and lifestyles. These are brought into the persona so as to have a chance at possibly bringing the age of chivalry to life once more.

In creating this persona they are alike but that is where the similarities pretty much end.

In the SCA you learn the historical significances of what life was like. They do Arts and Science demonstrations for schools as well as groups such as the "Boy Scouts of America".

The SCA also recreates the fighting styles that were used in the middle ages. They do not use real steel swords however. They use rattan with is a grass that looks like bamboo. However instead of being hollow, it is a fibrous and mostly solid. Used alot in the framing of wicker furniture.This is used instead to attack one another on the feild of honor. It leaves bruising but rarely causes any real damage because of the armor of the combatants.

The rattan is used to simulate the wooden swords that were used to train armies and squires so they would only earn bruises and not get cut before learning to use the real sword they would use in the field.

The armor used in the SCA is usable and mostly to historical standards with the acception of the use of some modern materials to simulate the looks of historical armor without the weight.

This differs again from the LARP where they use fantasy designs for the most part and a lot of these armors would never have stood up on a real battlefield where the SCA armor would have and, in some cases fared better that it's historical counterpart.

The helmets are a geat example of this. You must remember that the lower the gauge # for steel the stronger the metal. The SCA standard helm can run 12-14 gauge. This can be run over by  a small pick up truck and may not bend at all. Where the standard helm, if one is worn at all, for a LARPer is 18 gauge. I personally can push in on the sides of this and bend it in with my bare hands.

The actual fighting that is done in the SCA is classified as a form of martial art. The fights are not choreographed and the winner is the one that best the other on the field.

Then there is the living at an event. A LARPer will do what the person in charge tells them and spend the evening in character. Pretending that they are a wizard or rouge and attempt to finish a quest that is set upon them so as to win a game.

The average SCA person, or SCAian, takes what they have learned about there picked time and place and attempt to live in the style of that period. While talking to friends about everyday things like thier jobs and what the family is up to. Not playing at trying to finish a game but just enjoying friends.

I admit there are some simularities and they both have thier merit. However, The SCA is more about learning about history and sharing your knowledge. Where LARPing is a game based in fantasy. The SCA is a way of living with history and learning from it. LARPing is over at the end of the game and you did not learn more than the game wanted you to know.

Whichever you choose, have fun. Just remember that they are not the same.

I hope that you enjoyed the breakdown and maybe I have enlightened you a little. So the next time you see a group of SCA fighters in the local park practicing, remember that they are practicing and training a real martial art. Just like if you were kung fu dojo.

Not playing a game.

Thank you for letting me ramble.

Starter to Blogging

Not to sure how this all works but I will learn. So here I go

I am a geek, period. I love SCI-FI from all different genres. I have been a memeber of Starfleet International and the Klingon Assault Group (KAG) over the years. I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Babalon 5, and Firefly. And of couse I watch all the great SIFY channel shows like Warehouse 13. And even the occasional bad movies that they deam nessecary to make.

For the last 20 years I have been involved with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachrinism). A medieval re-enactment group that I find to be fun and allows me to learn about the time periods for knights and chivalry.

In the last few years I have become a fan of Warhammer 40K. I was introduced to it by my freind Rick when the "Battle at Black Reach" set came out. He and I bought a box each and traded out minitures. He took the Orks and I took the Space Marines.

I decided to go with a the Ultramarines. I have builts my army since then and I went from the one box set of 500 points to an army of 4000+.

I will post an actual list later of what I have aquired. I am not a great fighter but i am learning stratagies and tatics and getting better.

Unfortunately my work schedule keeps me from being able play the normal days that are run in my area but I am hoping that changes soon.

I have, in the last month, picked up the "Space Marine" game for my XBOX360 and I am learning more about how the character move. I just started playing the co-op mode and I must admit I am getting my #$@ handed to me. But having fun. I will take any advise on that as well.

I also read the "Ultramarine Omnibus" book and learned alot about how they react in battle. I am hoping to use all this in the near future as well.

I am looking forward to talking about my interests as well as taking any advise someone has for me.

Thank you for listening to my ongoing rambling.