Monday, September 22, 2014

Weddings and the nature of Time

I am a firm believer that during the process of a wedding that time travel is not just theoretically sound by actually possible. It is the only explanation that I have for how I experienced the day, and how's mind remembers the events of the day in total.

My first memory is the only one in correct order, which works out nicely to frame the day. I remember waking up, tossing on a few scraps of clothing and heading outside. I sat on a bench, just staring at the slowly brightening sky, and I remember quite distinctly thinking that the day should have been more profound. I was almost insulted that the day wasn't unique or different in some way, this was a huge day for me and my love and it seemed unfair to have it be just another day. After a few moments reflection, I decided that it being just another day was perfectly fine with me because now it would be special for us.

Prep and breakfast was a blur, and the drive to site happened in a blink of an eye. My next strong memory is walking through the garden, running my hand along the benches and feeling a heavy sense of emotion in the air. It felt like everything was vibrating with potential and I was afraid to breathe let alone touch anything lest I set into motion something I wasn't ready to handle. I'm sure I spent hours in there, studying the leaves on the ground and the grain in the wooden rails before the photographer met me out there. 

The line up went too fast, the practice drill went too fast, everything before the wedding was to fast. I was so sure they were playing the music to fast, because how was anyone to appreciate the personal musical selections before the wedding, that I asked the wedding coordinator why the music was playing that way. Pretty sure I confused her though. And there were questions, and cameras, and people and movement and standing and it was all like a blurr to me. At one point I found myself leaning on the wall just to try and center myself.

Time blinks, and I'm in front of everyone. No ones looking at me though, everyone's looking back at Sarah as she walks down the aisle. She looked so damn beautiful, it's all I can do to not burst out in some kind of song/dance/cry  routine. We stood there for days just looking at each other and enjoying the moment, the weather was perfect and the sun hit her just right. Now the day was special, unique, and utterly amazing. The day was made boring, so she could make it beautiful. Time started to catch up, but never really moved at the right speed for the whole ceremony.

I was worried, a small part of me, during the ceremony because I was SURE we had been standing out there for over an hour. I was worried what friends and family would think, for me making them stand outside in the heat for so long, but before too long we were walking down the isle and freshly married. Time moved in a blur, and suddenly we were dancing our first dance as husband and wife. It felt like a Disney movie, the beauty and her beast dancing in a beautiful hall. We talked and laughed and enjoyed the moment, but it was over far too quickly for my taste.

The rest of the day was a blur of activity with moments of slow and sharp clarity. I remember distinctly dancing with my mother and grandmother, and the looks of happiness on their faces. I remember her family congratulating me, shaking my hand. I remember hugging Sarah close and the smell of her being calming and bliss. I remember sharing laughs with friends at the reception, and warm hugs at dinner. I lived what felt like a year in the span of a day, but at the end of all the exhaustion I would have lived it a thousand thousand times. It was perfect in every way. 

They say as you move closer to the speed of light, time will slow and even come to a stop. Sarah is my light, and that day I truly feel time did slow and stop so we could enjoy the day forever.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall Coronation Memories

Fall Coronation has a funny way of making me see things in a new light, of reminding me of things I never knew I needed reminding of, of placing new challenges and new situations in front of me to tackle for the next year. In a way this event is my New Years Day, a shining weekend of hope and promise. And much like New Years in January I always leave there changed. 2011 was my first Fall Coronation, and every one since has been a wonderful changing experience. This year proved to be equally insightful. 

This new year promises to be one of comings and goings. I am learning, slowly, to trust and rely on others. I can't do it alone, nor will I have to. I have family to provide comfort, friends to ally with and common causes to rally others around. At the same time I am learning to let go of things that need to move on, to not have a death grip on things because "that's how it's always been". Friends come and go, and I need to let that happen without too much fuss. Passions and interests grow and change, and I need to adapt better to these things. 

My new job has also taught me I have a strange fascination and enjoyment for administrative tasks. I find myself wanting to do them, and look forward to exploring  the administrative side of the SCA. After talking with my Laurel, I was able to find a really great mentor on all things service-related in Steve aka Baron Terrill(sp?). It'll be nice to have a guy I can bounce ideas off and get advice/insight without any concer of strings or misunderstandings. My passion for cooking as always burns strong, and combined with homework from my Laurel the Saturday night feast have me much to inspire and push me higher.

It's silly at what inspires us, but having a larger tent has inspired me to have a more period presence. I have more room, thus can think of more things to do to look better. I wanna make my footprint on site look more period, dress more period, just be more damned period in my presence at events! I have idea for rugs, wooden covers on bags/crates, lamp lighting...ah money. This raise was nice, and now it's nice to see it go away again!

I think my favorite part of the night was a spent late on Saturday. Andi, Jason and I just lounged outside the feast hall with drinks in hand and on her carpet. The conversation just traveled, but those few hours of simple social time really made the event for me. I wish I could have gone another day, but alas work.

I have a wonderful new year to look forward to!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Filk: Bard Monkey

This is another filk song I typed up after some inspiration from my friend Lana.

Bard Monkey get up get coffee.
Bard Monkey go to job.
Bard Monkey have boring meeting,
With boring Site Herald Bob.
Bob say "Bard Monkey very diligent,
But is breath does stink.
His clothes not period or elegant,
What do Bard Monkey think?"

Bard Monkey think maybe Site Herald wanna cry goddamned morning news himself!
Bard Monkey not say it, out loud.
Bard Monkey not crazy, just proud.

(Chorus)
Bard Monkey like moonlight.
Bard Monkey like mead and bacon too.
Bard Monkey very simple man.
With big warm fuzzy secret heart.
Bard Monkey like you.
Bard Monkey like you.

Bard Monkey hang around at Crown Lyst,
Tell you scroll-work looks nice.
Bard Monkey offer bring you soda,
Bring you cup. Bring you ice.
You say "No thank you for the soda 'cause,
Period it ain't.
Anyway you busy drawing unicorns,
This'l haveta wait."

Bard Monkey as long walk back to Heralds desk,
He sit down pretend to work.
Bard Monkey not thinking, so straight.
Bard Monkey not feeling, so great.

(Chorus)

Bard Monkey have every reason
To get out this place.
Bard Monkey just keep on working,
See your soft pretty face.
Much rather wake-up eat a coffee cake,
Go fence take nap.
Herald's desk fulfilling in creative way -
What a load of crap.

Bard Monkey think some day he have everything
Even pretty Laurel like you.
Bard Monkey just waiting, for now.
Bard Monkey think some day, some how.

(Chorus)
(Chorus)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Updated SCA Resume

So I have a bad habit of writing notes to myself all over when it involves me personally, then forgetting to follow through on whatever personal matter I wanted to set up. I'm damned good at taking care of others but someday I need my own secretary LOL.

So the topic came up in the middle of the night during Antocalypse 2014, and I remembered that I hadn't updated my SCA resme in a while. Crapbaskets, I say to myself, I should get on that when I get home. Then sleep happened, then work happened, so here I am updating this in the middle of the night and trying to remember various facts and dates and sch and so forth.

Honorable Lord Christoffer Koch
Barony of Darkwater, Trimaris

Awards

Trimaris-
Coronets Acclaim, Regional Art/Sci - Baronial Bash 2011
Populous Acclaim, Regional Art/Sci - Long Nights 2011
Kings Acclaim, Regional Art/Sci - Long Nights 2011
Companion of the League of the Hidden Treasure - Trident Tourney 2012
Order of the Golden Hearth - Res Festivus 2012
Order of the Acorns Glade - Village Faire 2012
Order of the Trident Keype  with AoA - Village Faire 2012
Order of the Emerald Seas - Gulf War XXII
Order of the Argent Estoile - Cooking and Dancing Symposium 2013
Grant of Arms - Trident Tourney 2014
Order of the House of the Serpent's Torque - St. Val's 2014


Kitchen Experience
Res Vestaria 2011, Dinner (Silk rod themed, starts in Italian based and ends in Chinese based)
Fall Coronation 2011, Saturday Dinner (Viking)
Baronial Bash 2011, Dinner (Italian)
Long Nights 2011, Dinner (Mediterranean)
Hero of the Chalice 2011, Dinner (Irish)
Royal Luncheon - Gulf Wars XXI
Known World Party - Gulf Wars XXI (Arabic)
Ranger Moot 2012 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Assistant to the Feastcrat)
Trimaris Memorial Tournament 2012 - Saturday Dinner
Fall Coronation 2012 - Saturday Dinner (Roman theme)
Michaelmass Moot 2012 - Saturday Breakfast/Dinner (Forme of Cury, so 14th century English)
Mayanmass Moot 2012 - Saturday Breakfast/Dinner (Mayan theme)
Gathering of the Clans 2013 - Saturday Dinner
MartinMas Moot 2013 - Friday/Saturday (early period Saxon)
Hero of the Chalice 2013 - Saturday Dinner
Trident Tourney 2014 - Saturday Dinner (Norse)
St. Val's 2014 - Saturday Dinner (bread and meat prep)
Gathering of the Clans 2014 - Saturday Dinner
TMT 2014 - Saturday Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner (Wolfmom's "Easy Peasie Feastie Beastie")

Cooking
Swampkeype Revel 2012, Lunch (German)
Trimaris Memorial Tournament 2012, Fundraising Lunch
Michaelmass Moot 2012, Fundraising Lunch and A/S Judges Luncheon (Roman themed)
Hero of the Chalice 2012, Feast (Plaine Fare, German camp cooking themed)
Gulf Wars XXII, Queens Tea (Roman themed, recipes translated from Apicius)
Fall Coronation 2013, Feast (French)
Trident Tourney 2014, Fundraising Lunch and A/S Judges Luncheon (Tavern themed)
Swampthynge 2014 - Dayboard (Tavern themed)
Vigil for Thallassia - 2014, Roasted "Unicorn" (Goat)
Vigil for Milesenda de Bourges - 2014, organizing and managing.

ArtSci Projects
Mylates of Pork, a reproduction from Forme of Cury - Novice Cooking: Regional Art/Sci 2011 (Baronial Bash and Long Nights)
Mylates of Pork, a reproduction from Forme of Cury - Journeyman Cooking: Winter Art/Sci 2012
Compost, a reproduction from Forme of Cury - Journeyman Cooking: Regional Art/Sci 2012 (Michaelmass Moot)
Compost, a reproduction from Forme of Cury - Journeyman Cooking: Kingdom Art/Sci 2013 (Michaelmass Moot)

Classes
14th Century Feasts: How, where, and why they ate feasts in Europe, and simple ways to re-create for an SCA meal
Feast with the King: Why they ate certain foods for feast, what they ate at feasts and how we haven't changed!
Medieval Cooking for Teens
Redaction 101: Translating and Preparing your Period Recipes

Service
Chronicler, Canton of Peregrine Springs: June 2012 - September 2013
Art/Sci officer, Canton of Peregrine Springs: January 2013 - September 2013 
Majordomo to their Excellencies Darkwater: April 2013 - Present

Interests
Medieval cooking and preparation, gardening and farming in European styles. German history and culture of the 14th century. Heavy combat, rapier combat, water-bearing, serving and retaining in a period style, fighting styles and designs from the 14th century specifically.

While updating all of this, I found myself realizing I have done a lot of things in a long time. I reread many older entries and remembered fondly the events I attended, and had a good time down memory land. Yeah, I know my resume is not as large and mighty as others but it is mine and I love it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Because I knew you...

As late as 2011, I was a terrible person.

Well, maybe terrible was a strong term. Not good is better, or even lacking in chivalrousness could be described; any way you cut it I was not a good person to be terribly close to. I cheated and stole, I gossiped and worked to "punish" those that I felt wronged me and my own, I lied and broke promises. I blamed my hurt on my past, on my present, on anything I could find to excuse my poor behavior. And all the while, I was miserable.

A whirlwind of time later, I found myself surrounded by a whole new crowd. A new girlfriend, a new social circle, new peers in my life. It was a restart, a chance to have a blank canvas...and I almost wrecked it. My fear, my cowardliness almost had me throw it all away. People were treating me with respect. Me, this monster of a person, was being treated with kindness and generosity. My best friend Ever has often stated it's because people could see the good in me that I was choosing to be blind to, and I really feel she was right. I was blind to the person inside, the honest and good soul, because I was afraid. Afraid of my past, afraid of the choices I had made, and afraid of admitting fear itself. I was running from life because I was afraid to live it. 

So many people have come into my life, some more prominently than others and yet others have drifted away. Every single interaction has helped me to see who I am, to discover the spar of hope I used to parade down the street with. People such as Dulcia, Madhavi, Ever and yes of course my lovely wife-to-be Sarah have all helped me discover the person I've always wanted to be but been afraid to confront. It's been rough, and at many points I have fought and rejected it.

All this is on my mind from a sudden and surprise test of my character I encountered within the last 24 hours. I've never realized how far I came until today, and how much I have changed. I know it's cliche', but there's a song lyric that really speaks to me on this:

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.

To all the wonderful people who have been in my life these last 4 years...thank you. Thank you for inspiring me, pushing me, mocking me at times when I got too serious or bringing me to earth when I was lost in the clouds. Thank you for never letting me go, and for helping me to be the good pperson I've always hoped to be.

Stay tuned for some madness, some ramblings and some more general updates. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

On the topic of service...

"But he should have a yellow belt!"

That one statement has been rattling around in my brain for nearly a week, what it means to me and how I reflect my work based on it. It's all to to do with service, and I admit my feelings are complex and mixed. Since my mind will not allow sleep, writing seems like the best answer.

As a small forewarning, this blog post is primarily about the SCA and my views on service within it, but I guess we could use this to describe any number of mundane tasks/roles along with it.

Service is the absolute core of the SCA in my opinion, because we are a volunteer-run hobby group. Every single person I know in Trimaris volunteers to do all the work they do, giving up time and hard earned money for a hobby they feel is worth investing, Officers, Artisans, Event Staff and Fighters all volunteer, all do service of some kind to make us move and grow. We would not have events if not for the people who give up MONTHS of their lives to making a place exciting and filled with wonder and fun for all the participants. We have a whole host of artisans and fighters who make up the officer roles in local and Kingdom groups, all dedicating YEARS of their lives to the art of service and helping us all play our game. Newcomer and old-fart alike work in concert to help make an event happen. But where are all the cries for yellow belts with this legion of volunteers? Why do not Peers cluck their tongue and question the lack of a belt on this horde of helpers?

This has been a question bothering me for many days, and I feel I have finally found an answer that soothes my soul: service is required of all, but not all are required to have the heart of a servant.

An Autocrat serves because he wants to. Maybe he delights in planning parties, or enjoys the organizational aspects of the job. In any case, he serves because it brings him joy an pleasure and that is a good thing. My fighters marshell the field because they enjoy watching the fighting, helping their combat brothers continue their skills, and because they enjoy it. Same goes for any event role or officer role, rare indeed is the person who takes up the task who doesn't derive some kind of pleasure from the task.

Then there are those who feel compelled to serve, those for whom the situation is thrust upon them. Maybe a lunch cook falls ill, perhaps a flat tire prevented a marshall from arriving to run the tourney...regardless if the reason they find service thrust upon them. Kind and good people will do the work if it is needed, if they possess the skills to help, they may grumble about it an make snide social media bursts later but they understand at its core the SCA is service based and all are required at times to help shoulder the load. There is nothing wrong with this service either, if its commonplace then you have a volunteer issue which is a whole other topic better addressed by those wiser than I.

Neither of these, to me, show the heart of a servant. Yes they're all necessary and greatly appreciated, but these are not reflections of the heart of a servant to me. These are not the people who get hounded by Pelicans or others with questions of belts or Peer relationships, but these are all good and honorable people nonetheless. Award them, give them largesse and praise their helpful hearts and willing hands!

There is a Baron and Baroness I know who both truly have the heart of a servant, and I firmly believe that is a basis for why they sought out those roles in the first place. Both could easily fall into the first category I described, but they go beyond that. They do the work without thought to themselves, just to better promote the health of their local group. Their first and foremost thought every time I speak with them is how they can help others have fun. They give up time, money and even some sanity in the effort to serve. They dress in regal clothes and attach retainers to their sides not out of conceit or selfishness; they strive to create that Middle Ages image so well that one of their populace will be lost in the moment. They argue and slave for hours over awards and largesse, not to reward their chosen but to uplift and raise up those who need it most. Their hearts are bent to the task of what they can do to help, and are often oblivious of what they give up to be so supporting; for them they do not give but gain tenfold.

The heart of a servant means not only do you gladly offer assistance when able, you feel compelled. You feel it is your duty and pleasure to serve your fellow man, to raise him up alongside you. You don't think twice about stepping up and offering aid where it is needed, because why would you? You take pride in a work accomplished, not just because of the glow of a finished task but because you did it knowing it would better someone else. You would do it all again, and you will, because nothing warms the heart more than seeing the smile on a fellows face in gratitude of your work.

An individual with the heart of a servant is drawn to leadership roles, not because of a lust for power but because of a clarity of vision. They want to take charge of different aspects, take on various leadership roles, to see that a needed task is completed. Noticing a problem, noticing a niche and striving through all obstacles to accomplish the goal they set forth. They're the people who see the problem no one else has, an found a solution that we all ask ourselves how we could have lived without it previously. They are driven to leadership because ensuring a job is done is as necessary as eating and sleeping.

This to me is what makes the heart of a servant. It's not just found in the Pelicans, it's found all over. You find it in the Laurel who helps her little seedlings master a difficult stitch and perfect their garb. You see it in the aging Knight who still week after week take to the fields and practices to teach anyone who desires his skills. You see it in the older-than-dirt Trimarian who takes the simple largesse made from a beginner feastcrat and cherish it like gold. You see it in the minister of youth giving up her whole weekend to help raise and grow her small horde of children. These are all people with the heart of a servant to me, people for whom perhaps the question I started this blog post with is asked often and repeatedly.

As for me, to answer the question for myself, because it's not my passion. I love to serve, it makes me feel warm and squishy inside knowing I helped something work or that I made someones day better by helping with this task or that. But my passion is Art, to understand it and recreate it and even create it! It is my driving goal, that which I push myself to learn and grow in the most. My service flows from my art, I love to take care of people and feed them in the most period ways I can find. My heart may be that of a servant, but my soul is that of an artist.

Anyway...these are just my silly opinions that have rattled out of my brain and onto paper. Would love some feedback and/or thoughts on what I wrote here.