Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gulf Wars XXI - Snippets in Ecstasy

I originally had a very large post written detailing all my experiences at War. That got deleted however, and frankly I don't have the energy to recount everything I did and experienced all over again. Instead, I'm going to post a few photo's that I took/were taken by others and give you small snippets of my favorite moments from the event.

 One of the hardest things for me to overcome in life is my paranoia and fear out being alone. When I don't feel comfortable or safe, like I belong, I tend to clam up and remain distant at best. This crew here, mostly strangers at the beginning of the week, held me close and helped me to feel like I belonged and was welcome. I'm not even sure if they know or not how much just including me and treating me like one of the gang meant to me, or how much it inspired and make my Gulf Wars experience that much more amazing. Thank you.

Ahh, the Green Dragon. One of several permanent structures built on the campgrounds, this one held a special place in my heart. Stepping inside brought you into the depths of a medieval fantasy, stone floors lined the tavern while wooden benches lined wooden tables. Barkeeps manned the draft, pouring elixirs that healed the soul while bards sang from the rafters for our patronage. Knights sat round, trading stories of bloody and brutal combats while minstrels sat in corners tuning instruments and trading stories to be later told around camp fires. I went here every night, just to sit and absorb the atmosphere, and for those brief moments I was transported back in time.

Of course no trip to Gulf Wars would be complete without worship at the Shrine of St. Martin. What started as a joke teasing a good-natured Knight over his error while digging has taken a life of its own, with a level of reverence and silliness few seen in the modern day. While still a fun joke and a gentle tease at Sir Martin, the whole concept has evolved past that and become a new beast full of its own life and energy. Decorations and offerings of worship were added as the week went along, random Trimarian and others from the Knowne World would pause to worship at it and everyone walked away with a smile upon leaving. I feel that the legacy of this prank and later Shrine is one of joy and happiness, because from the light heart did such wonders spring forth. I look forward to the day I get to meet Sir Martin in person, I want to thank him for putting up with the silliness and letting me see something that has inspired me to create joy and laughetr in the hearts of my friends.

Hundreds of unnamed volunteers gave their blood, sweat and tears into making this event possible. These are folk who sacrificed time from classes, from fighting and even drinking to take care of us and to help the event run smoothly. I am proud to have stood beside every single fellow who lifted a beam and tied a rope, carried water or even cleaned the trash from the bins. These are folk who joyfully went about their task, singing and laughing with each other as they took sheer delight in the work being accomplished. It was quite a moving sight, and it inspired me to work harder to be a part of the magic they feel.

Decades of cooking experience was at my hand in this photo, women who had been making feasts and meals more extravagant than I can even dream before I even heard of anything like the SCA. Everyone in this photo, and the three others not seen here, were kind and generous with their cooking knowledge. They were all eager to sit and talk with me for hours at a time, to walk with me and share stories of the past and just give advice on things like love and politics. I was never made to feel like an outsider, I always felt included and more importantly I felt like a vital part of the operation. I learned so much in this week that I'm still having to review the notes I gave myself, and I feel that the greatest thing I learned was that if the positions are ever reversed...I know how to treat someone right.

This one was taken by a random passer-by, shortly before I spoke with Madhavi and she accepted me as her student. I had the pleasure of accompanying her and her daughter Elizabeth (or Biff as she likes to be called on occasion) to watch youth combat, to meet several wonderful people from all around the Knowne World and most importantly to relax and just talk with Madhavi. The relationship between Madhavi and her daughter was wonderful to watch, and the personal time to just talk with her about my feelings and ambitions and things I wanted to accomplish in the SCA was refreshing. The siple joy of combat, good food, good friends and good talk make this a very special memory for me.

His Majesty and I spent over an hour grilling at the Knowne World Party together. I got a chance to really meet and talk with Ari for the first time, to see the man behind the crown, and I was surprised at how little has changed between who he is and who he is as King. Finding out we worked in the same field was a pleasant surprise, talking about the cultures and relationships other Kingdoms have with their Royals and Peers, watching him chase off retainers with heated tongs made me laugh and just generally discussing life in the SCA was one of the highlights of my trip. My gut always told me he was a man I could respect, trust and follow into battle. I am so glad my experiences match, and he shall always be my King in my heart.

It takes a great deal to move me to tears, but this man was one of several who frequently inspired me to do so. His heartfelt speech after the Ravine battle struck a chord deep inside of me, I felt so much pride for my Kingdom and pride in the warriors that fought for us all. All around me were encouraging words of fighters who drug themselves up to shake each others hands, who refused to leave the armor that weighed them down because they were proud of that Trimarian blue. If I ever had a doubt for the love and dedication to this hobby, this one moment erased it from my mind.

Gulf Wars was everything I needed it to be and more, a once in a lifetime experience that I can forever look back upon and feel inspired and uplifted. Even in the dark times of my life, I can look back and know one simple thing.

I know that I have a home, a place I am welcomed and safe and loved. No one can ever take that away from me, for my hearts blood beats blue.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have made my journey amazing so far, I cannot wait to cotinue walking the road with you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


House broken into. Valuable and expensive things stolen. Spider bite. Stolen extra set of keys. Feeling sick. Privacy and sacred space violated. Huge multi-day Gulf War post randomly deleted.

I got nothing for today folks, I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Completed Film

While I was away at War, Haley and Kyle had finished my recent short film project. I know' I've posted it all about my various social media sites, but I wanna have it here in my blog too for future records keeping. This was my first film project, I wrote the script and also starred in the project as well. For those who don't know me too well, I have a serious passion for creation and the joys I feel when my work is raised up like this cannot be expressed.

This was a big deal for me, this was the first time that my writing projects have been treated with such seriousness and respect. Everyone involved in this film project has aims to become professionals in the buisness, and all have added this short film to their credentials and resume. I'm super excited with how it came out, and wanna share with you all. It explores a real fear that I have, the knowledge of imminent  death and being totally alone to face the Reaper.

I'm Infected - Jacob's Last Video

Friday, March 9, 2012

First Film project was a success!

So yesterday I finished my first filmed project, a short film titled "I Am Infected: Jacob". The film was a part of a friends Not 1 Zombie film project, their goal is to make a film universe set in a zombie apocalypse but without showing a single zombie. The focus on the films is to highlight the real horror of zombie movies, to show how humanity is changed and how we transform to be just as monstrous in the face of such a foe. The I Am Infected videos are short films being filmed by fans of the project, putting a human face and a singular focus on individuals who find themselves infected with the zombie virus and with just hours to live. The video's are their final recordings, and it is moving and terrifying in its own.

If you're interested in learning more or possibly submitting your own short, go to

I had a neat idea for a film, a lonely video blogger who's only friends and companions are the faceless masses of the internet. He becomes infected and wishes to show his "family" what the truth of the disease is, what it does to the body, and to warn them with his own demise. Secretly, its so he doesn't have to die alone. Being that this is a horror flick, it obviously ends poorly but I won't ruin it for you with it finalizes post-production!

When I arrived on the "set", I was under the impression this would be a simple filming. I didn't even bother memorizing y lines because this was supposed to be read from a computer with a webcam attached! Boy, was I in for a total shock. Andrew Valentine arrived shortly after me, a professional make-up artist struggling to rbeak into the buisness and someone who is passionate for the N1Z project had volunteered who whole professional-grade make-up kit to making me look amazing. Erick is a film major and production manager, working for Full Sail and ESPN who is also looking for his break out of it all brought all his equipment for lighting/sound/filming to make this a serious film project. Kyle took over directing when things escalated so quickly, and before long this was a fully functional movie set for my tiny film. I was so nervous!

More on the film later (most likely after War) but I will leave you with this screenshot!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

And now for something completely different...

hose who don't know me as well, I am a huge music buff and a lover of the stage. Opera, musical, Broadway productions are all passions of mine and I do my best to attend at least one show a year (this year is shaping up to be Lion King!). In keeping with this, I had the opportunity to introduce my girlfriend to the wonders of Phantom of the Opera for the first time ever. She had never seen the show or heard the music before, and with the release of the 25th Anniversary Blue-ray edition of the stage show (a must buy for PotO fans) I strived to rectify the situation.

She enjoyed it and we've watched it off and on a few times sense, but in that vein I decided to experiment for myself. See I had come to find out that the Australian version of Love Never Dies had been filmed by the same crewed who filmed the 25th anniversary PotO stage show, and I decided to throw caution to the wind and download the show to watch and review. I had purchased the London recording of the show and been sadly disappointed, the show was such a bomb it was re-designed and re-made and re-introduced in Australia. Because it is Andrew Lloyd Webber, and because I am a sucker for the Phantom, I watched and suffered for you my dear readers.

Enjoy my review after the image break!

The story, in a nutshell, is set 10 years after the end of Phantom of the Opera. Christine and Raoul have been married and have a son together, The Phantom has escaped and is hiding in Coney Island (thanks to the help of Madame Giry and Meg) and thanks to random quirks of fate they have all found each other again and the story takes place there-in. As not to ruin the plot (which isn't terrible, all things considered) I'll just cover the basics of the show.

The Characters are pretty well represented by the new actors, especially in the Phantom and Christine roles which were my favorite in design. They seem physically complimentary, slender to well built and dark ad white comparison. Their physical chemistry was very well done, I truly believed in the relationship between them simply because of the way they portrayed themselves. The characters looks genuinely aged as well, the addition of mutton chops to Raoul and the extended spinster make-up of Giry were very welcome additions. I was happy with the changes to the old characters, but less happy with the new characters. The new characters seemed forced, added on to help the narrative but otherwise were shallow and ill-formed. They all seemed like extra set pieces, not snap-shops of a real persons life.

The set It was bright and detailed to be sure, but very reduced and small compared to the huge set effects PotO was known for. The opening set intro with the circus design is as large as it gets, everything else is far more reduced and seems to take place on a series of rotating set designs within rooms and on overhangs within a carnival show. I wasn't a big fan of it all personally, the sets seemed to be overcompensating for the lackluster acting from the assembled groups or trying to tone down the outrageous costumes of the cast or their over-the-top and rather unbelievable acting. This all really hurt my feelings on the show as a whole, and separated me from the performance.

I had the same feelings on the costumes as I did on the set design. At times I found the costumes to be phenomenal and inspired, I was a huge fan of the simple white that Christine was dressed in and the long coat that Phantom wears made me drool. The early 1900's period costuming was very nice, I loved how the extras and chorus all dressed so nicely. However, I was really unhappy with a good bit of the majority of the circus costumes. They seemed to surreal, too unnatural and were jarring enough to make me frequently loose my sense of realism. The overly ambitious costumes just seemed....too jarring to me. Like the set, the costume back and forth differences just left me feeling lacking.

Till I Hear You Sing (Once More)

The music was a back and forth. Vastly improved from the London showing, it still was not up to the quality that I expected from Andrew Lloyd Webber. The orchestration of all the music was very lovely, he didn't rely upon too many modern instruments or sound synthesizers. My major issue seems to be with the inconsistency of the vocals and lyrical writings of things. At times it seems like he tried to ram and crush story plot into each song which could have been better covered by a small monologue. Other times he forces and greatly stretches the rhythm schemes to try and make it fix the orchestra instrumentation. Some songs I fell in love with (such as Till I hear you sing or Beneath a Moonless Sky ) where as others just made me feel awkward and frustrated ( the Beauty Beneath or Dear Old Friend come to mind ).

All and all, the show isn't a terrible show by any means. Taken on its own, its a valid show and worth attending at some point. Compared to the original show it is a sequel to? It holds a pale flickering candle to a bright star.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A song, I helped to write :)

My good friend kaoru, our friend JP and I sat down on Saturday with the task of writing a filk song to be performed in less than 7 hours (or so we thought, the delay of feast extended that time a bit) in honor of the outgoing Baron and Baroness. This is what we came up with, I'm quite proud of it, and the lyrics are below the photo of us performing!

Baronial Bands
(To the tune of “Black Velvet Band”)

In a great barony called An Crosaire, they traveled from over the land
And many a gentle did gather, every one a proud Trimarian
Then good fortune it did befall me, walking near me like two Seraphim
Close at hand with a shimmering smile, good Rurik and fair Ceridwen


And their eyes they shone like the diamond
You’d think they were lords of the land
With their swords and coronets shining
They’d pass the baronial bands

It was still quite cold in the morning, too cold for our blue southern blood
When heralds announced that the court had begun, I perked like a new flower bud
Well I watched as they stood in the court hall, bright minstrel and lovely maiden
Their hearts filled with pride in An Crosaire, good Rurik and fair Ceridwen


A number of prizes were given, each one was presented with care
Takematsu decided to sleep in late, when he walk up his feet were still bare
Two ladies were Chivalry’s champion, The applause was a wonderful din
With tears in their eyes, they presented the prize, good Rurik and fair Ceridwen


The king took their coronets gently, reluctant to lose such a pair
Who guided so well in An Crosaire, with kindness and chivalry rare
As they walked from the thrones of An Crosaire, promptly greeted by five shots of sin
He downed one and  all and they walked away tall, good Rurik and fair Ceridwen