abendgules: (knitting)
This week has been pretty rubbish, with a lot of worry about Mum burbling in the background of my self, prime example being the Friday night phonecalls and emails as Mum went to ER for the 3rd time in 2 weeks.

I'm not thrilled about finding out that I had a new manager the day she started work; my existing mgr had said nothing about it during our last round of objective setting and annual appraisal bumf.

I'm still waiting for my stupid cough to pack it in. I blame Nordmark and its determinedly egalitarian and democratic approach to life; everyone can share the misery.

Trying to exert control over what tiny areas I can, I cleaned out my clothing drawers and put 2 bags in the clothing and fabric charity box.

This tidying was to make room for some recent semi-impulse purchases - where you go in for 1 thing (running shoes on sale) and find yourself buying 2 shirts off the 'reduced' rack and 3 sets of socks at 3 for 2.

I now have more shortsleeve running shirts than there are days in the week, and either shorts or leggings to go with them.

I cannot justify any more running or fitness clothes til something hops out of the drawer and goes to the gym without me.

Yesterday I spent a chunk of money on yarn - lots of it - for a longterm knitting project. I'll have to hit [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san up for use of her yarn swift, or else I'll get RSI skeining all this yarn.

Today I spent on household linens; it's been long enough since my last purchase that the linens shop has changed name and I couldn't find it online at first.

I don't tend to use retail therapy, not really. I think about buying something for a long time before actually finding the time or inclination to shell out.

When I do buy, I tend to buy lots, and then I'm done, finished.

I've been planning these purchases for ages. However, this weekend I think online shopping gave me something to do that was in my control.

Sometimes I do buy myself treats after a long day, or if I'm out of my usual routine.

Last week I was on training for work that brought me into the City. There are no longer any bookstores on Fleet Street; the Waterstones packed it in, and the legal publisher is gone too. So I had to trek to Waterloo station (a roundabout way home) to find the Foyles that is now there, and treat myself to some paperbacks, as well as Rev Richard Coles autobiography.

Control efforts have not reached my fabric stash, however, or my fencing bag.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
...at least for part of today.

So far: woke long enough to answer the wail of 'who wil think of the kitteh??', turn on Saturday Live on Radio4, then flopped to listen til noonish.

Coffee, News Quiz, Intawebs, and packing for revel, which is still TBC for me; having a gland-ey day. Another couple of hours to decide.

Long weekend, so long movies on TV, including Harry Potter 1, which is largely unspoiled, when the story and actors were both still young.

Patio door is open, so Haggis is enjoying perfect day; fed, watered, free access to Out, and human on tap.
abendgules: (rearview_runner)
Robert is away slaying orcs. I have 3 days to sprawl on the sofa, read books, be cat furniture, and call taco chips and instant noodles dinner.

I could clean the flat and put away all my fencing kit from Double Wars.

Or not.

More likely to try to get round the park again, even if it's not at running pace. The bigger part of the park is actually furthest from us.
abendgules: (monsters)
I'm finding it hard to pay attention this week, with my trip to Double Wars just a couple of sleeps away.

Our early May bank holiday was a social one: visiting with one of Robert's highschool mates (visiting from NZ w/ his sweetie). They've settled in Wellington after years in London, and a few years in Skye, while one then the other went to Gaelic college. They seem their usual lovely selves, and it was a treat to see them both.

Then we were hosting J [livejournal.com profile] pall_vert on her return trip, acting as a pied a terre in London. She's been traipsing round Europe and the Middle East for an extended stretch and was just passing through.

I'd warned her I'd be madly sewing and crafting the weekend before DW and sure enough, I bounced between projects for 2 days while she unpacked, laundered, downloaded, repacked, and headed once more back to Ealdormere, for at least a stretch of time to sort the remains of her worldly goods and chattels.

It's a big change from the lady whose house was stuffed with Stuff, absolutely to the rafters, for so long.

Weekend outcome:
- finished sleeve details for 14th c gown
- finished gambeson prototype for C&T
- assembled new fencing hood, which now needs edge finishing, lots of it
- finished gifties

Fell into bed on Monday evening (end of long weekend here) knackered from doing nothing but fine artwork and sewing, plus one ramble in the park with J to show her the restoration on the 16th pathways in the park. Delicate petal me.

I've now done my printing (travel docs, DW schedule) and am trying not to spend the whole day on Twitter.

This break means I get to vote and run, and don't have to listen to the endless election waffle and palaver. The prospect of a second coalition gov't seems to be scaring the parties more than the voters. The emphasis on Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about the outcome - whatever you do, don't vot X because that means Y will get in! - is really discouraging.

I sincerely hope that this election exposes how broken FPTP is, but having just had a joke of a referendum on the topic a few years ago, I don't know if the Electoral Reform Society has enough ooomph to make it a tipping point again.

In other news: way to go Alberta. I'm impressed. Let's see all the oil companies run screaming for the border...
abendgules: (self-portrait)
The blooms of spring don't last. Love them though.

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abendgules: (self-portrait)
...I'm finally working with a Genevieve in my office.

And of course, she sits next to me.

She's a contractor here, has been for most of the winter, continuing into the spring, and she's from Lochac.

She's a Jenna-Veev, rather than a French-sounding Je-ne-viev, or any other versions, and she sometimes goes by Jen.

But just now when someone said her name, both of us turned around.

I haven't mentioned my Society name to anyone, so it just makes me smile. Noone else is in on it.
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
prev posted to assorted media:

Greetings from Genevieve, Thamesreach rapier marshal,

I'm writing to thank the many contributors who helped make the Thamesreach rapier revel one of the best yet.

Particular thanks to Master Alexandre, Dom Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and Lord Nicholas, the out of town marshals, for their time and expertise to help make this year's spring rapier revel successful through authorisations and support.

These marshals spent much of their time authorising the fencers of Thamesreach.

Every time I thought we were done and we could fence I turned around and more hopefuls had turned up.

I counted 6 fencers with new authorisations:

milord Bennet: single, rigid parry
milord Stas: single, rigid parry, dagger
milady Jane: rigid parry (began fencing in September)
Lord Guy de Dinan [livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat: dagger
Lord Nicholas d'Estleche: cut and thrust single weapon and great weapon
HLady Lyonet de Covenham [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher: cut and thrust single weapon and great weapon (and finished paperwork for single blade, dagger and rigid parry)

...so 2 people newly armed to the defense of Insulae Draconis, plus 4 people developing their skills and building towards becoming a deadly force to reckon with, for a total of 14 authorisations. Not bad for a single revel's work.

It was a real delight to pause sometimes and consider the scene of a dozen fencers almost all drawn from southern England (plus 3 guests from Pont Alarch Ooop North) engaging in the arts of defense.

In the afternoon, Master Alexandre spoke knowledgeably of the skills most needed for novices to master first, and we rounded out the afternoon with 45 mins of melee, starting with 5 a side.

The most entertaining bout was probably when Duarte was entered as a 'swing' melee member. Every time someone died on either side (at this event the 'stairs' team battled with the 'shed' team, referring to their res points in the courtyard), Duarte changed sides as called by Master Robert, who was assisting the marshals.

Duarte ably managed to follow directions: 'Duarte, you're a shed!... Duarte, you're a stair!...' correctly, *almost* all the time.

Those committed to the arts of peace were ambitious in their works this day: as part of the great work to ornament the shire, the artisans laid out and traced 10 of 12 drawings of the labours of the year onto silk for a substantial silk painting project - substantial as the drawings are easily 150cm square or more for hanging in the hall.

HE Oriane, Lady Margrete [livejournal.com profile] m_nivalis, Lady Anilyne, milord Marx, milady Maude, and milord Patrick were people I saw working on this project though I may have missed someone.

We sat to feed about 20 people with splendid hot dishes (Byzantine lemon chicken, stewed lamb, lamb tagine) and cold (pork chacuterie, biltong and sausages, cheeses) 2 great compound salads, date lombards, with breads, nuts and fruit to round out the table.

We lingered over our meal and then some folks danced while Lady Contanza Albion [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san spoke of heraldic matters to those interested in registering their names and arms.

Our hall was beautifully dressed with the long-missed per pale az and ar hangings of old, returned to the hall with thanksgiving, plus our fine diapered cloths, and the still-growing Thamesreach bunting.

Again: many hands contributed to an excellent day, whether hanging the hall, preparing food, instructing and guiding, or in the cleaning and tidying at the end.

HE Oriane arrived with me at the start of the day to open the hall, and with me was the last to leave: my thanks to her for her commitment to making this event a success.

I look forward to seeing many fencers on the field in the coming months, particularly at Raglan ffaire.

Your servant,


Genevieve la flechiere
Thamesreach rapier marshal
abendgules: (Mountjoy)
...cannot resist a puppet version of Rush's 'Tom Sawyer'.

No idea who wimp.com are, but this was the source of my goats-entertaining-themselves-on-a-wobbleboard video, which can't be bad.
abendgules: (ohnoes_omg)
by gorging on the archive for 2 days.

Today's favourite, for all kinds of reasons.

More positively now I'm totally culturally prepared for Double Wars. :-)
abendgules: (Oooops)
...to Scandinavia and the world, a webcomic I've read about but not actually read in person til today.

Here's today's favourite for language buffs.

It's excellent preparation for going to Double Wars.

Hey [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk: I think we've just found a great solution for the 'how do we convey nuances of meaning on social media' question... just refer them to SatW.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
This past weekend I had a lengthy chat w/ [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk, about 'the thing on Facebook', about social media (he's stepping up as social media officer for Drachenwald), about growing groups and how to do it well.

In the end I asked if he'd consider being my dependent, and he was pleased to agree.

I'm not fully comfortable with 'protege' term, but we'll work on it. (I tried to ask about the source of this term recently, on the Pelican yahoogroup but my msg bounced as unmoderated after 14 days.) He has a suggestion for a term in Irish which may serve us both well.

We'll have a ceremony at Raglan ffaire, where much? most? of his existing household can attend.

Evidently he's just as pleased as me, as the news reached his lady and his friends quickly :-), which can only be a good sign.

Also at this weekend Pan Vitus gave [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk's lady Agnes a red belt - they'd been preparing for some time but this was the ceremonial occasion. The belt has passed from Sir Matthew Blackleaf to Sir Vitus through his other squires to Agnes; it's deep red/brown rather than the blazing scarlet of many Society belts.

Agnes and Vitus fought together in the 2-man melee tourney after Crown, which was great to watch.
abendgules: (armory)
Crown tourney was Oooop North last weekend, about half an hour out of Manchester, at a scout camp site, where Paul and [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy won Crown.

It's a good site for the event, accepting the fact that it has no medieval anything, though the scout great hall is quite handsome with a nice fireplace.

But it's Oooop North, and it's early April. And sure enough, the wind blew, the rain blustered, and it was bloody freezing standing around.

And...Robert didn't make it. He came down w/ a cold a day before we were to leave, and was not in a fit state to travel. He certainly didn't want to sit wrapped in a cloak, watching the other kids play, having loving friends ask him why he wasn't fighting.

So he stayed home, and I went to the event on my own. I felt like I was missing something all weekend and of course I was, my sweetie. (And my circlet, because he usually packs them.)

With our withdrawing, and one other couple withdrawing with the fighter's faulty knee, the list was small at 5 couples, and even a round robin took just an hour. The outcome was what I expected: HG Sir Thorvaldr, fighting for HE Countess Tofa, and HE Pan Vitus, fighting for HE Visc Isabel, in a best of 5 which went to the full five bouts.

At the fifth, Vitus yielded the field and gave Thorvaldr the victory.

At court, the countess previously known as Tofa approached their Majesties in Japanese clothing, and was crowned princess Tomoe (To-mo-AY, I think). I believe she is the first Japanese princess in Drachenwald.

On other fronts:

Much fencing - [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher and others were keen to fence, and we had 2 guests from An Tir who were fencers, one of whom proved to be a don. So we fenced as much as time allowed, with [livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm, [livejournal.com profile] goncalves, Master Alexandre and me concentrating on authorisations.

The good outcomes were

- Alexandre and I are now fully authorised cut and thrust marshals
- we both now hold great weapon C&T authorisations

Also, my gauntlets work a treat: I used them for both single sword and two-hand sword C&T. The bell cuff helped take the edge off blows that would have otherwise hit my forearm pretty sharply, but I still take it that I need splints or hardened leather bazubands or similar.

[livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm insisted that with my gauntlets outshining the rest of my kit I should fence naked. I said wherever he led, others will follow. Oddly, he didn't take me up on the idea.

On the fencing kit front:

I had successfully 3R'ed my first fencing gown: that is, cut it up the sides, added large gores up to the armpit gusset, and sewn them up again, then enlarged the sleeves the same way.

If I'd planned it better I'd have cut open the gown from cuff to hem at the side seam and simply made a very long (pieced) gore that ran from cuff up arm through armpit and down the side. But I didn't plan that far ahead.

As it is, I've inadvertently ended up with something that looks very like the lesser known Greenland gowns that have wide-top gores that run right to the sleeve (rather than pointy ones that end at the waist or hip). So in all it's a good result.

Armed with the C&T marshalling card, I can now go to Double Wars and pester the senior fencers for field time so my experience can better match my warrant card.

On planning for DW front:
Their highnesses of Nordmark William and Isabetta attended Crown and were their usual lovely selves.

Isabetta is gatekeeper, and William is head of combat for this year's wars, positions they took on well before 'accidentally' winning the principality tourney in March.

I enquired about combat classes at Double wars- there's no shortage of arts classes but I've not seen any fighting or fencing teaching planned. So I'm going to pester for instruction. I can't go to Nordmark 10 days and not get something out of it.

Sir William said plainly, 'if someone came to me and said, I want to learn, can you take an hour to teach me, I'd be a fool to turn them down'. William is conventionally last man off the field, and I've never known him to knowingly refuse to help someone.

On the spreading bread on the waters:
I was really happy to see Lady Tamara, the founder of the Bulgarian shire St John of Rila. The shire she's built there is growing and thriving, and she looks very happy with it, though equally happy to no longer be seneshal.

I'd sent her a handout on heralding tournaments for one of the newer members, and she says it was just, just what he'd needed.

He'd read it through and written the tournament instructions out in a small book to refer to for tournaments and had put it to use at their recent spring event.

It's very charming to have stuff you do well received, even in small doses.

Unfortunately in the wind and busy day I dried out, and came down with a ferocious tension headache from dehydration, to the point of nausea. By the time I realised what had happened, my head was engulfed and my shoulders were rigid.

I packed up my kit at 8pm and left the feast hall and lay down, but basically didn't get up again except to change out of my gown. It took over night plus a lot of vitamin I to clear.

Sunday morning started well with [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm's coffee service: he brought his portable stove to make Turkish coffee a la Mangy Mongol.

We then had some time to fence: Asbiorn and I did a dagger authorisation for a new fencer, and he and I warmed up while Catlin trained someone new, and I did sword and dagger passes with Lucrezia, which was great fun. She's a very methodical student and wants to talk through moves, just the way I do, which I appreciate.

I was among the last to leave site with the event staff, and it felt like a long trip home to my sweetie who was getting far more attentive Haggis-care than he really wanted through the day.

By the time I got home she was in a mood for Out and Personal Time, thank you, no cuddles required.
abendgules: (hunh?)
...Robert managed to launder his stone-age basic phone, not once but twice. (First load didn't have soap, so I started it again...)

Anyone had any success w/ phones working after being laundered? Or is it a lost cause?
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
Pictures of the shiny:

Sorry for the fuzzies - limit of taking pictures one-handed.

View of the coverage of my thumb, and flexibility: I'm making a fist.



When I got them Robert asked if when I closed my hand my thumb could fold over my fingers, or was it stuck out straight. It sits on top of my fingers.


Making a fist around a long sword.


Only drawback I can see is the limit of the bell of the cuff: I can bend back my wrist only so far. So any moulinet is limited to a kind of cone-shaped curve (w. my wrist at the point), not a full circle with my wrist at the centre.

HOWEVER: the customer service was such that I think you could ask for extra-flared cuffs. They seem very amenable to doing custom work.



Will be able to tell you more after Double Wars in May!

New toys

Mar. 27th, 2015 10:22 pm
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
Hint: not the vacuum cleaner.

Arrived today, weeks before Double Wars. Hurrah!

abendgules: (Mountjoy)
...but seems to have survived the experience anyway.

The response, almost entirely on social media, to current TRM deciding against a couple for Crown, demonstrates a) how strong a tool social media is and b) how it's a truly terrible way to share news.

For those not in Drachenwald:

TRM had refused a couple entry (as is *within* their right to do) but discovered that being straightforward enough to say it was because they were a same-sex couple (and TRM felt that such couples were not historically accurate) meant the whole of online Drachenwald roared in furious response.

Happily TRM have changed their decision, and [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher has posted an extremely thoughtful thank you note, remarking on helpful and less helpful responses.

There's still a strong simmer of people, still arguing about what is and is not discrimination, equal rights, legal options, etc. It's as if they wish they still had someone to be angry at instead of simply cheering the change.

Robert and I were at the local revel in Thamesreach, doing medieval(TM). [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham heard of the news of the change from [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer, and passed it on, and there was a palpable sigh of relief in the hall.

I've written to TRM to thank them for their change and assure them they will be very welcome in Insulae Draconis in a few weeks.

I pointed out how bitter the business of same-sex marriage rights has been in the UK (something they'd know nothing of) and how that might have driven some of the anger from our quarter.

It's much easier to argue in a small group about a small injustice, when you feel helpless to change law in a much larger society stuck with an 18th c voting system.

I really really hope the upshot is: everyone cheers when TRM arrive in Insulae Draconis, and we can all take a deep breath and move on.

At the revel, it was splendid: great food, small well received court, dancing, good instruction. All the fine things that make our revels fine things.
abendgules: (ohnoes_omg)
...hate it when that happens.

Ink and Gold: Islamic Calligraphy is already wending its way, courtesy of the online-book-dealers-that-are-not-Amazon.

It's from a Sam Fogg exhibit: Sam Fogg being an exclusive dealers' gallery, where you buzz in to enter, and can browse the displays and fondle the books if you ask. It's like seeing how the other half (well, 1%) live: the neighbourhood is about as exclusive as it gets for shopping in London.

If you have to ask, you can't afford...

ETA: second time in 2 days. Now have 2 different fencing manuals en route.
abendgules: (maciejowski)
Recently I really enjoyed a repeat episode of Horizon called 'Are you good or evil?'.

Recommended if you have access, or perhaps on world service.

The title is a bit click-bait-ish, but the science seemed sound, rounding up different types of experiments trying to determine when 'morality' starts in infants, and examining differences between murderers' brains and other peoples' in their activity areas, enquiring about any brain injuries they had (like shaken babies) that might change their brains.

Interesting stuff about the competition between oxytocin (which encourages humans to bond) and testoterone (which makes people more aggressive).

A nice demonstration with a rugby team, with men playing together in warmup and practice: levels of both hormones rise as they practice, encouraging them (theoretically) to both work together effectively, and be more 'pumped' for physical action.

The bit that really interested me was training US marine recruits in hand to hand combat.

The trainer they interviewed said that when you train men by de-humanising the enemy, by calling them names (gooks, hajjis) and making them out to be sub-human, you start to break down the sense of moral right and wrong in the person. They carry that home and start beating up on their families and being generally aggressive to everyone.

The trainer said the more effective way to train to prepare to kill hand to hand is to appeal to the marines' sense of right and wrong, where they are presented as the defender and protector (IIUC, the hero of the narrative, not the bad guy).

In this way, you can train them to kill other people without breaking down their sense of who they are, and making them generally outwardly violent all the time.

This fits well with the idea that there are 'good' wars, where it's the right thing to do to sign up to defend your country, and there are 'dirty' wars, where it is not - or where those who fight are doing it for the 'wrong' reasons.

It also fits with the 'justifiable' war idea from the middle ages, and from the church: that it's ok to kill people for the sake of reclaiming Jerusalem for the Church, or to protect pilgrims, or to ensure access to holy shrines.

Those would be the right reasons for a Christian to fight, without having to appeal to the 'they're unbelievers so killing them doesn't matter' theory, which leads to dehumanising the enemey.

This whole idea really struck me; I'd always wondered how 'warrior monks' of any creed could reconcile their conflicting beliefs without their heads exploding. Yet it's clearly possible because lots of devout people fight, in history and today, in all faiths.

Now, it seems, there's a rational (as in, one that works w/ human brains in a predictable fashion) explanation.
abendgules: (monsters)
...I now have downloaded more 19th c books than I can likely read in a lifetime of commuting.

I'm intrigued by the iBook tools, that allow you to select from 4 very closely related serif fonts for reading, as well as a white background, off-white (like old paper) and black with white text).

These tools don't work equally well for all publications; possibly only work w/ the crack dealer's offer those items from the Apple shop, rather than just any e-book.

The archive.org PDF copy of 'Last of the Mohicans' doesn't benefit from them.

To me the interesting part is imitating the typeface of print. In user research, research showed that

  • people reading computer screens understand more if the text is in sans serif font, w/ serif fonts for headers

  • people reading paper copy understand more if the text is in serif font, with sans serif for headers

It appears that this was possibly a screen resolution issue, rather than a human-being issue; something I hadn't considered.

With better resolution (even for small screens) you could read something in serif fonts, and not get eyestrain.

Still trying to master the tapping skills required to turn pages, and not accidentally select text.

Gutted

Mar. 12th, 2015 06:45 pm
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66

I hope BBC re-run all the Pratchett radio plays.

Maybe even a couple of movies - though the first half of 'Hogfather' I watched on DVD didn't do the story justice, sadly. Susan StoHelit was very good visually but the rest of the production disappointed.

Want to curl up with 'Thud'.

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