Friday, February 25, 2005

Joseph Swetnam

Joseph Swetnam is known for two publications: The Araignment of Lewd, Idel, Froward, and Unconstant Women and Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence. I have no real interest in the former, but I find that his recommendations on rapier fencing work rather well for me. To that end, I've obtained as much of the text of Schoole as I reasonably can from the internet, and I'm working on distilling the useful information from it. This could take a while, as Swetnam, like most writers of the time, seems to spell words in a random manner. He's also rather wordy, and I say this from the standpoint of a professional technical writer. Nonetheless, there is good information to be squeezed out of this text, and I shall endeavor to derive a good webpage for out of it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Laccio d'Amore

As a few people who might read this journal know, I've been working on reconstructing a 16th century Italian dance called Laccio d'Amore. I now have a "working copy" of the reconstruction up on the shire website ( The page isn't linked from anywhere else in the site, so those of you who are so bored that you have to come to my blog for relief will be the first to see it.

Now, if I can just get Talan to finish translating the step descriptions...

Friday, February 18, 2005

What's the period term for "Slackers"?

Last night was dance class, and... nobody brought their "homework". I did have two people claim to have done it and left it at home, but no one actually delivered. I had my hopes up, too. A few of my regulars were out this week, too, so they obviously didn't bring any new dance tabulations. Maybe it'll all come together next time (two weeks away).

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shire Website Updates

My friend Richard gently twisted my arm until I learned to write CSS code over the last week. I used my new geek skills to update the website of the Shire of Glaedenfeld. The site is now a lot cleaner under the hood, reducing the number of images on the page and eliminating a lot of unnecessary javascript.

While I was at it, I updated the template for this blog, so now links to the Shire, the web forum, and the Kingdom are all displayed in the right column. Yay me. If you're bored enough to visit my blog, I'm sure you're bored enough to check them out, too.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Fencing Class Expansion

Her Royal Majesty Ashildr returned to fencing practice this week. We'll be trying to make sure that she's ready to authorize before Gulf Wars in mid-March. She brought a couple of members of her entourage with her (who also came with her to Saltare at the end of January), and it looks like one of them will be taking up fencing as well. Needless to say, an expanding fencing group delights me to no end. I suspect that La Gran Companiya may be serving as the Queen's honor guard on the Gulf Wars battlefields instead of hiring out this year.

In related news, Her Majesty informed me that she'll be attending our dance classes, as well. If there's anything that could delight me more than additions to the fencing class, it's additions to the dance class.

On that note, my dance students seem to be taking their homework assignment seriously. Glee.

Monday, February 07, 2005

House Optimus

After many requests for suggestions from our other campers (with none forthcoming), my wife and I finally settled on "House Optimus" for our Gulf Wars camp group name. Is that conceited? Could be. But, we do have the intent of pursuing excellence in everything we do in the SCA. Our goal, as a household, is to "raise the bar" for everything from event planning to feast quality to combat expertise. I'm not sure exactly how a group officially becomes a "household" in the SCA; for all I know, it's just a matter of registering a name and device for the group. I'll have to find out (feel free to post a comment if you know).

Anyway, we think we have the required number of people for a land grant at Gulf Wars, and we expect to be camped down past the equestrians near kennel lands and the parking areas (rather convenient, in some ways). This is a pretty good location for equestrians, coursers, and fencers; not so much for heavy fighters.

There's a party on the agenda for Friday night at the war. My wife and I will be hosting the wedding reception we never had. Let's hope it doesn't rain.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Brewing and Vinting activities

A couple of weeks ago, we bottled mead, racked wine, and started beer out here at the farm.

The mead is a beautiful thing. It has the color of light honey, the clarity of fine crystal, the scent of a bouquet of clover, and the flavor of No. 2 Diesel. Don't be alarmed; we've encountered this phenomenon before. In fact, it's not unusual for a young, green mead to taste more like a petroleum product than fermented honey. Time is your friend in such cases, so don't throw it away; bottle it up and leave it alone for a few years and it will come around.

The wine is a special project. We love muscadine wines, and we acquired a few dozen pounds of them from the farmer's market for this endeavor. This wine is slightly sweet and profoundly muscadine at the time of racking. Unfortunately it's also as murky as the Mississippi in springtime, but hopefully that will pass with a little more time to settle.

And finally, we started a medium-weight amber ale which will hopefully be fermented, kegged, and carbonated in time for Gulf Wars. We're having the wedding reception we never had there, and what's a party without beer. Well, it's probably a party for winos, but this party will have beer. If you're taking the trouble to read this, you're probably invited.

I am a cruel dance master

I have just assigned homework to my dance students. I have instructed them each to reconstruct a period dance from original source material, and pointed them to online editions of The English Dancing Master so they don't have to go to a library or buy a book to do it.

They have two weeks: we shall see if any of them are diligent enough to actually do it.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

This is not SCA-related...

... but it's excellent news, nonetheless. According to Yahoo news, UPN has finally cancelled the Star Trek travesty known as Enterprise.

I was only able to force myself to watch one season of that garbage before giving it up. It mercilessly abused established Star Trek continuity and raised the levels of preachiness and downright disgusting moral values to outrageous new heights (go watch the episode "Dear Doctor" if you don't believe me... it's appalling).

Goodbye, good riddance, and may Paramount give their next Trek project to someone other than those two losers Berman and Braga.

End rant.