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.....It all happened this evening, and it went fast. My cell phone buzzed, and I was actually near enough to it to see it vibrate (since it doesn't actually ring anymore :-)). I was expecting someone else so I basically answered with the equivalent of 'What the hell do you want?'. Imagine my surprise when the person on the other end of the phone said that it was Miranda. As in, like, uh, Her Majesty Miranda.

.....O.K., now I'm embarrassed and am stumbling just ever so slightly as I am asked if I'm still wanting to wear the Coronet of the Baron of Dragon's Laire. It really hasn't sunk in at this point as to exactly what I'm being asked as I'm playing hot potato with the phone and my face it burning brightly. I'm rushing down the stairs and handing the phone to TBT, who proceeds to calmly and politely answer questions.

.....After five minutes or so TBT concludes the conversation and hands the phone back to me and we move forward with plans already made for the evening and I go back upstairs. It still hasn't sunk in what has happened yet.

.....Then Her Excellency Brighid calls and asks me about an e-mail She is going to forward to the Baronial e-list from Their Majesties naming TBT and myself as the next Baron and Baroness of Dragon's Laire. I think that She realized I would be in a state of shock as She takes that moment to inform me that She has a house FULL of stuff She has packed and ready to go to Her heirs. I seriously think She was of the opinion I wouldn't have noticed She said that. :-)

.....After I get off the phone I go into the Living Room and stare at TBT for a while. We're both in something of a state of shock.

.....Wow! This is it! I hope the shock wears off quickly. There is a lot of freakin' work to do!

.....I just hope that we can do even half a good a job as Cedric and Brighid have done. They've been such an awesome Baron and Baroness that it'll be hard to fill their proverbial shoes.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Last night was the Baronial Polling. It was a strange night. Not so much in a foo-filled way (at least for me), but not exactly something I'd want to repeat on a regular basis though.

.....I had spam'ed the list with reminders about the Business Meeting starting at 6PM alongside the Polling. It was advertised by THL Angharad, and was listed in The Crier as well. But people still didn't read the 'fine print' and the meeting itself started lightly attended and grew as the evening progress. I think that if I had to do this over again I would indeed advocate starting the whole process at least at 6:30. It is the time people are used to seeing the Business Meeting start, and at least several had to rush over from work.

.....Although, really, I think that if I had to do it over again I'd actually advocate that the Polling be held on a night all its own. Conflicting with the Business Meeting was more of a disruption than I thought it would be. Rolling through the reports in thirty minutes was not very satisfying and certainly left me with the feeling that we were forgetting much.

.....Thankfully, the officers were all prepared with shortened reports, or the standard 'Read It In The Flames'. It felt good to mean that statement again as THL Rycheza is back on board as the Chronicler. It is going to take a little time to sort out subscriptions, format, printing, etc. But I think that Rycheza was a fantastic answer to our issue. Plus, she has good ideas on getting more articles and features into The Flames to actually READ, something I'm looking forward to seeing. :-)

.....Their Excellencies of Blatha An Oir were in attendance as one of the official representatives to the polling. I'm sure our Business Meeting looked pretty chaotic to them. :-) Sir Fiach was also in attendance as the Crown's Representative. He seemed to have a good time with the whole thing. And showed off some nasty bruises he obtained at Crown.

.....I really missed not having Isketol at the meeting! He was unwell and at home, where I am glad he stayed. But I'd forgotten how much it takes to get all the forms straightened out, the receipts collected, the checks written and recorded. And that's the easy part of the Exchequer's job. It was always the Doomsday Report I hated to do the most. Ack! I spent at least a half hour after the Business Meeting proper getting everything financial squared away. I gave the check-book back to Mistress Gwen for delivery and signatures from Isketol. And I realized just this morning I should have sent the Check Advance Forms and receipts back with her as well. Oh, well, I'll get them to Isketol this weekend.

.....Most of the checks could probably have waited. But not the Last Chance ones! We need to pay for the hay and the food this weekend. Where did all the time go? I can't believe it is already mid-September!

.....Lots of questions on heraldry. Once again it was made clear that people have been craving names and devices to be submitted for a while now. THL Anne and THL Oliver are going to join me on Heraldry Night. Marquessa Laurellen is going to help with sketching services. I'm still hopeful of talking to THL Alis about her sketching devices as well. Maybe even a few other stunt-heralds as well. It should be a good night here later in September.

.....About 7:15 I finally made it over to the food table. It was mostly picked clean already. :-) SCA Participants never pass an opportunity for good food. And we have some excellent cooks in Dragon's Laire. :-) I think that Lady Adelheide had an excellent idea when she suggested a German theme. Next month, of course, we get pumpkin. :-) All kinds of orange food and pumpkin food. :-) And His Excellency Cedric is the organizer. :-)

.....I finally sat down and filled out my polling form. I was pretty brain dead by this time, so the form was pretty short and to-the-point and without a lot of details on it. That's what e-mail is for anyway I think.

.....Lots of people in attendance for the Social though. I was pleasantly impressed. Until I found out that Marquessa Laurellen was dealing with foo herself outside. I stuck my head out the door to check on her and she actually seemed to be in her element and talking up a storm. So I left her alone and just checked up on her a couple of times. I know I hate being interrupted when I'm on a roll and she seemed to be working hard at getting a point across, so I stayed out of it.

.....I quietly started picking up items at this point as it was starting to get close to 8PM. Wish I had been more subtle about it as Madrun immediately stopped relaxing and got up to start picking up stuff as well. People were getting tired by this time though, so things cleaned up in fairly short order. By 8:10PM we were all out the door and headed away from the Hall.

.....I did not get a lot in the way of questions about my position on anything in the Barony. I think that people have either made up their minds about whom they want, or else are not concerned (in a good way) about who is selected. I think that is a good position in which to be. Although I myself would have liked to have had more questions come my way. They were good brain food. Gave me things to think about as far as possibilities in improvements. Or other things where I've been doing it one way for so long that I hadn't thought about a different, and
possibly better, way of doing things.

.....Lots of new members in attendance, as well as members whom we haven't seen in a long time. The newer crowd is rather exciting as they all seem to want to really get involved and do things. I had several conversations with a couple of nice ladies who want to do something on the June Faire Board of Directors. We've emphasized how difficult a job it will be and they do not seem phased. Although in my conversations with them I've also always emphasized how rewarding a job it can be as well. I don't think I'm the only one who has explained it this way
either.

.....Relaxing Friday planned, yeah. Must contemplate the 'to-do' list and narrow it down to a handful of things that CAN be accomplished in two days. I will miss TBT on Saturday, especially our morning Starbucks run. But we'll still have Sunday. Must allow for some 'fun time' in that list as well. Hmmm, when to fit that in... :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Morgan Freeman as Bilbo!? The One Ring reported that MGM is really courting Mr. Freeman to play Bilbo in the upcoming movie version of 'The Hobbit'. Don't get me wrong, I actually LIKE Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption is a favorite of mine), but I just can't picture him as Bilbo Baggins. I can't get my mind to go there. Hmmmm....

.....Starting to see some incredible pictures from Burning Man in Nevada. The living artwork displays were the biggest and most sensational ever. It was the most attended Burning Man ever as well. Organizers are starting to worry about the lasting damage to the Playa itself from all that humanity making a home there for even that short a time in the summer. In the desert environment it takes much longer for the land to absorb the human 'presence' and go back to its original condition. The thought is that attendance may have to be limited to an even greater degree next year. I'm actually in agreement as the commercialism is starting to bleed into various aspects of the event this year. The first time I see Coca Cola sponsoring the painted body bicycle ride is the year I stop even thinking I want to go there.

.....Seeing all the pictures made me miss the desert a LOT. We have a week in October to explore. I was thinking that we go through Sequoia National Park and then buzz through Death Valley. National Geographic did an interesting story of the moving rocks of the racetrack. Rocks that seemingly move across the playa there with no visible signs of how. Scientists are theorizing that ice forms from moisture runoff from the surrounding mountain range and the rocks 'slide' across the frozen dry lake bed.

.....Sigh! I was again reminded tonight of the Barony's missing heraldic files. When THL Maryn Grey passed the office on at the end of her tenure, I helped her pack three boxes of reference books, a file box of devices from Shire and Baronial members that had passed the gauntlet, and a box of miscellaneous supplies. The Barony has none of it now. The Herald's Office is not the only office to suffer this fate (Gads! I still remember the really nice looking Elizabethan Garb a former Golk Key officer 'sold' to raise money for her office). Just makes me sad and frustrated. Her Excellency gets frustrated with me when she has to argue with me on even getting rid of really BAD Gold Key garb. In reality I know this stuff is not worth using as polishing rags on the workbench. But every time I think of what we've lost in the past I find it difficult beyond reason to give up ANYTHING and store it like a bad pack-rat. Need to find some balance I guess.

.....Tomorrow Night is the Baronial Polling. The Polling itself will be on one side of the VFW Hall starting at 6PM. I'll start the September Business Meeting on the other side starting at 6PM, and see if it is possible to make it a record breakingly short meeting. So as to give people as much time as possible for writing remarks on the polling form. It'll all be over by 8PM.

.....With THL Rycheza taking over as Chronicler this month, I'm looking forward to seeing The Flames again. She has made it a personal mission to solicit for articles and 'stuff' to fill the pages. I have an essay on being a protege that will be done in time to go into the October issue. But I'm hearing of other stuff being written that sounds like it will be good. I'm supposed to do some heraldry consultation later this month, so maybe I'll do an essay on heraldry. Supposed to do some dance instruction as well and can think of a few things I can write on that subject as well.

.....Lady Adelheid is promoting a German food Social for this month that will take place during the polling. It'll be interesting to see what foods show up. TBT and I need to figure out what we want to bring.

.....TBT is headed to Dragon's Mist this Saturday to teach a metal smithing class. I currently have nothing on the agenda. Although there are probably things I should be doing. Must consult the list. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Yesterday was the Baronial Picnic and final Baronial Polling Q&A. Held at the Manchester Fuel Depot. It was a very beautiful location, directly across from Bainbridge Island with a magnificent view of downtown Seattle. I love the point there. Although the wind was a little biting. I'm not sure if it is always windy like that or if it was just the weather for the day. But I would certainly love to use that location again if Jahnkin will let us.

.....It was fun to sit and chat with people at the picnic. I brought the proverbial 'stuff to do' but did not get around to doing any of it really. I meant to play some music, but didn't ever get to the point of actually pulling out the gemshorn.

.....Brought my books for heraldry consultation but never did connect with Magdelena and her husband on their devices. We're going to meet up at Tuesday's Fight Practice and I'll bring my books with me then.

.....I was the Baronial Book Herald for a number of years, but would never have described myself as a professional. :-) I mainly taught myself the basics, and a bit more, in defense of my own stuff against the SCA College of Heralds. It took me over five years to get a device passed that I could feel comfortable in displaying. I'm still not 100% happy with it, but I can live with it and its alternative back-up.

.....But I learned enough to where I actually enjoyed the mystery and research involved in heraldry and I enjoy helping people when I can discover their own name and device for registration, so I help when I can. I always try to remember to tell people to run their final ideas past a 'real herald' before submission though. :-)

.....As usual there was so much food at the picnic that no one went away hungry. Great selection. And plenty of burgers and dogs for everyone. I think everyone was comfortably full and contentable in time for the final Baronial Q&A at approximately 4PM.

.....I had again keyed myself up for the Q&A. I don't know why I do that because I haven't been handed a question yet that was not straight-forward and actually answerable, even if the answer is 'I honestly don't know at this time'. There was a lot more of the standard questions. But I could see that as there were a number of people in attendance who were not in attendance at the first Q&A.

.....All the candidates appeared to handle their questions with little frustration. More questions on Sargeantry. Some more on the various directions the branch might go and how a Baron and Baroness ought to interact with the branch and its populace and officers. Another question on children's activities. A couple of interesting questions on persona. Some thoughtful questions and none that were 'pointed' or purposefully negative, which I considered a win.

.....The 'Principality' Question was asked. A year or so ago, had I been asked that question, I would have given the asker a dissertation on why we needed to start working toward that now in the Western Region with all motivation and speed. But now, I'm content with the waiting. There really does need to be a ground-swelling of support to make this happen, and a real REASON as to why this would be advantageous to the populace of the area. Is all the work we would have to do to make this happen really worth it? Right now it would be difficult to argue completely that it is, but give us a few more years to get some more motivated people, maybe.

.....Being a dreamer is not necessarily a bad thing (MASTER RALG! :-)), especially in someone like myself who is willing to back it up with the work required to make that dream a reality! :-) Just sayin'...

.....Sargeantry is the other topic where the dreamer in me really comes out in full force. I have lots of ideas floating about to really bring about my 'Arthurian Quest' concepts into focus and I'd love to sit down with a group of people to see them quantified and qualified into a concept that can go forward. Although TBT do disagree on a number of aspects of how this is going to work. If you get both of us on this committee, expect some lively discussion. :-)

.....After the Q&A I felt drained. And we were off to another gathering in Seattle, so we had to pack quickly and leave. I felt guilty for leaving the tear-down to those still on the scene, but we were in a car-pool and I couldn't hold them for too long. I really should have thought that through. If I had I would have driven my own car and let the rest of them go ahead. I knew that I was going to be tired and that I would have wanted to help with the tear-down. Oh, well, something to remember for next time.

.....We went off to Wallingford for the annual Summer South Seas party at Giuseppe's house. It was a nice time and a good crowd. I'm really glad that TBT went as a lot of her peeps were there and she got to talk to people she doesn't see very often. We are kind of isolated a little in Kitsap County and I wish she had the opportunity to visit her Seattle side friends more.

.....Plus she had some drinks too. :-) And was smiling and laughing like you wouldn't believe. :-) Everyone ought to have a few drinks every now and then and just not care for a little while. :-)

.....I stayed in the corner and chatted with Brummbar, Talia, and Tsuruko for a couple of hours before Gwen marshaled the troops and we hit the road home. I zonked out completely in the car. I'm glad TBT and Talia stayed awake to keep Gwen company. And we made it home a little after midnight.

.....A good day actually. Next up in the queue is September Crown. I would have liked to bring Lobelia down for a clean and stock. But gas is expensive for an R.V. and I need to wait a couple of days to make that one happen. So it will be a hurry-up offense come Wednesday or Thursday. And a whirlwind weekend. Glad our Project is done at work for the moment, it'll be easy to get away on Friday. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....(116) calendar days until Emancipation Day!

.....It was one hectic week, but it ended up on a great note. I sat in the office of the Shipyard Commander today and watched him as he signed the final letter completing our Project in Georgia. This ended almost nine months of hard work and over a year in planning before that. Lots of headaches and lots of painful 'mentoring sessions' with The Big Boss. But we are DONE. AND, we came in at least a half-million dollars UNDER budget. WHOOT! :-)

.....Now the real shuffling begins. I was told this week by the Project Manager that he needed me to stay to finish planning for our final boat installation in 2011. I was also told by Code 360 that now that I'm done with this Project it would be a good time to bring me over to their Code to take the place of the Planning Manager going to Guam for six weeks. I'm not sure how to call this one. Next week will be very interesting.

.....I've been subscribed to the Lions Gate E-List for a couple of years now. Mainly to spread information on Dragon's Laire events and such. But it has been interesting lately due to their current Baronial Coronet Change. Last week they started their Q&A online. At first it seemed like the perennial list curmudgeons were going to hijack civility. But reason actually prevailed in the end. Many interesting questions are being asked and answered. It has been very interesting to watch the interactions.

.....Lions Gate is a much different branch than Dragon's Laire, of course. Their history is a lot different. Their culture is much different. The fact that several different branches play in very close proximity tend to colour what they do. The fact that they are Canadian might have some bearing on how their thought process works. But some of the basic questions are very much the same as people in Dragon's Laire have been asking.

.....There have been questions on Sargeantry of course. And how to handle events. And what the basic job descriptions for Baron and Baroness are. But from these starting points people have continued the thread into other areas on the way they currently do things and how they can improve upon them.

.....One of the things I have really liked about their Q&A online is that it has stimulated discussion amongst their populace about what THEY want to do and see in their future. MORE discussion is what a healthy branch does. Not only in person, but online as well. Some people communicate better in writing. Some people have very odd work schedules and can only find time to interact online.

.....I find it something of a shame that our E-List Q&A died out primarily due to the actions of one individual. Although that may be a generalization. Maybe Dragon's Laire really doesn't want to hear any more? But it would have been interesting to see how far we could have taken it if people had felt more comfortable in doing so.

.....Our final Baronial Q&A is tomorrow at the picnic. I'll get a decent night's sleep tonight and wear something warm tomorrow. Maybe this way I'll avoid the zombie-like state I was in for the last Q&A. :-) In two weeks the really hard part will be over, and then the waiting begins. :-)

.....I'll also be completely over the migraine I had yesterday. I'm starting to wonder if weather changes can trigger migraines as well as it seems the last couple have started when the weather turned from hot and clear to cold and cloudy. Hmmm...

.....September Crown next weekend. I think that Lobelia will have to come down this Sunday for the week so I can get her cleaned out and ready to travel South.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Ralph mentioned the other day that Time Management is something I do for a living. I was thinking about that today as I worked with my Team in getting ready for a Project Certification. I had representatives from all the various Codes who took part in the installation. I had a set process to outline everyone's responsibilities, when they owed me that information, and in what format they were to deliver that information to me. I acted as the traffic officer who made sure everyone was going in the right direction and at the right speeds.

.....The Traffic Officer comparison is actually fairly decent as when people who owe me 'stuff' do not deliver, I am then required to 'enforce the rules', and if necessary, give out infractions (mainly reports to upper management).

.....People rarely ignore the rules and I rarely have to 'report' people. Unless I am making sure they have the priority help they need in order to deliver. The basic structure of this concept though is based on the fact that all of these people are PAID to provide the products they owe me. They do this to make a living. No one simply 'refuses' to provide their products or services when needed. They don't just decide they are going to do something else just because I want something now and am being 'mean' to them. This is a very fundamental difference between a modern job and a volunteer organization.

.....I'm sure Ralph knows this very well. The hard part is really the fact that what motivates people in my modern job (being paid) certainly doesn't work when asking or expecting volunteers to do something in support of an organization such as the Barony or the SCA. They are not getting paid as this is their hobby. In the majority of cases they are actually paying out in time, effort and money to this hobby. And being told to provide a particular service at a particular time has to (and will (and should)) take a lower priority to what they do for a living in the modern world.

.....So, time management in a volunteer organization means that you not only have to prioritize the needs of your organization, you have to take into account the priorities of the volunteer's modern life (which will be higher than your organization's needs on occasion (as it should be)). You can't just order something to happen and expect it to happen without taking modern life into account. At that point your volunteer may just decide that he or she has a higher priority and will make sure it happens first, to your organization's detriment.

.....It takes extra effort and additional sensitivity to lead volunteers. Which is why it is a good management training tool. If you are a leader or manager of any degree in the SCA, you need to make sure to put that on your modern resume. And ensure that you treat it professionally, because I think it is better training for a manager's position than many similar positions in the modern world.

.....Which is why I'm thinking that maybe Ralph's analogy should be turned around. My SCA training is a good education in Time Management and Management in the Real World (tm), but I'm not so sure that my Time Management training in the PSNS & IMF world is such good training for management in the SCA world.

.....It's good fodder for debate though.

.....It's not good training for a Baronial Polling though. Which is far more emotionally based than I ever thought it would be. I'm actually glad it is not a vote at this point as I'm not so sure I'd want to see my Popularity Score. :-) But I certainly do not envy Their Majesties having to make a decision. I thought that being this was the third time for me it would be pretty easy to have a pragmatic attitude towards the whole affair. A little more difficult than I thought.

.....Although the Baronial E-list has become very quiet, there continue to be surprises, mainly involving what people think of your perceived strengths and weaknesses. Which are oftentimes surprisingly different from what you thought they were. :-) I've had people come up to me in support whom I would have flat out said wouldn't have supported me if their lives had depended on it. Then you turn around and people you would never have expected come up to you with misunderstandings they've been harboring against you for a long time for things you thought were dead, buried and forgiven a long time ago. These are really frustrating because often you didn't even know you had to defend yourself against them in the first place.

.....Or the people who decided for some reason that they really do not like you and no matter what you do that opinion is not going to change.

.....To be honest though, most people seem to be somewhere in the middle. Which is probably the good news. No matter what happens though what has been said can not be unsaid. So things have changed. Will that be a good thing? I need to buy a new crystal ball, mine isn't working well right now. :-)

.....I'm starting to see the Master Ralg view of life, something really close to an attitude of taking things completely on your own terms and no one elses. I think I should have learned more from him directly when I was still his protégé. I thought there were times when he was very gruff, and even bulldoggedly unconcerning of what others thought of him at times if he thought the situation warranted it. But his attitude can be very good armor against negativity. A nice armor to have when you need to move forward and get a Project done. Especially when you know intellectually or intuitively that your path is the correct one.

.....It's not exactly a new belief, it is simply knowing yourself well and believing in yourself. Confidence, and maybe a little intellect as well.

.....Zen-Ralgism I think I'll call it. Should we name it a religion? Or a discipline (like a martial art akin to Tai Chi)? :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Last night was the first Question-And-Answer session for the Baronial Polling. I was actually a little nervous leading up to it as I never know what to expect from the crowd. It didn't help that The Big Boss had called me into the office earlier in the day for a grilling. I was already on edge and very tired from having not slept very well the night before. Not a good combination going into the Q&A. But as TBT mentioned, we had grilled ourselves fairly decently the night before and were feeling generally comfortable with all the 'standard' questions.

.....I think my nervousness stemmed mainly from the 'prickly' and tense feelings I've been getting from the populace lately. Change is never easy. Especially when you consider that we're changing from something that proved successful to something that is new and unknown. That's bound to create uneasy feelings.

.....The VFW Hall was warm, but not unbearably so. The alternative was to drag out all the chairs to a shady portion of the lawn. But none of us were incredibly willing to go to that level. So we set up shop in the Hall itself and waited for 6:30 to arrive. I brought a couple of cases of water left over from June Faire, but Talon and Jenae took the prize by bringing a box of frozen Otter Pops. I think they went over well with the audience.

.....A good turn-out actually. I think there were somewhere around sixty people in the Hall. With others drifting in and out on a regular basis. We hadn't canceled Fight Practice itself so there were a number of fighters out on the ball field as well.

.....The questions really were all standard. The Sargeantry question started off the evening. Then all the standard event questions. June Faire. Children's Activities. Awards. I think all the candidates did well. Everyone had at least one witty and intelligent point to make over the course of the evening. Even me. :-)

.....I was dragging though, and tired, and my brain was rather mushy. I was grateful for TBT taking the bulk of the load for this one. I jumped in on several occasions, especially if I had a point I wanted to make. But for the most part I tried to make sure my answers didn't ramble into incoherence.

.....Master Ralg was the moderator for the affair. He definitely has a style much different than what I would have used. I can see the reason why he chose the free-form questions, but it made answering awkward at times as the candidates had to shuffle a bit before someone launched into a start for answers. But it worked.

.....The only tough question for me wasn't even part of the public Q&A. It was asked in private. I was somewhat taken aback by it at first. But it was a very valid question and I made sure to answer it as best I could. I was asked about my Time Management skills. On at least one occasion last year I was responsible for an activity as Seneschal, the case in question being the September Crown bid. It looked as if I waited until the last moment and lost the bid for the Barony due to my lack of follow-through in the bid preparation. If I let this item slide due to poor time management, how could I hope to cope with the time demands of being a Baron?

.....That sounds harsh, but I honestly do not think it was meant derogatory manner. I think it was a legitimate concern. I doubt the person knew all of the background information. But I'll own my errors completely in this case. I approached the September Crown bid in a very blasé fashion. I had the site locked up and it was a site of which we're very familiar. I waited until the last minute to put the package together because I really thought I had the event bagged, so why put more effort into it than I needed to put into it?

.....That was a major mistake on my part. The final bid looked hurried and it was rightfully rejected when compared to the bid turned in by Glymm Mere. Definitely a lesson learned for me and I have been more serious when dealing with contracts and event information ever since.

.....But to answer the initial question, I had already given thought to how I would handle Time Management as Baron. First of all, all the accumulated jobs with which I still run would have to go bye-bye. Primarily being Seneschal, but also the exchequerate duties belonging to The Crier (which is in transition now in any case) as well as my secretarial duties for the Western Regional Pelicans. All the little things actually add up to a great deal of time spent each week in support of the SCA. I know that. But I also know that being a Baron is a full time job. It would have to be my focus and I would take that seriously.

.....Plus, if I were one of the chosen my first duty would be to find help! Someone to support scheduling and reminders, as well as paperwork, to ensure that nothing does get dropped. I haven't been the best at parceling out duties to people to help me as Seneschal. That habit would have to change.

.....The person who asked the question seemed like they were satisfied with my answer. I don't know if that was in a good way or not. But I was honest and straight-forward. That's the best you can do.

.....I started feeling emotionally better as the evening wore on, but more and more tired. By 8PM I was starting to get a little loopy. I'm glad it wrapped up by 8:30. :-)

.....All in all a positive experience, like TBT says. I'm actually glad I answered the questions I did on the Baronial e-list as it gave me a little preparation in what to say.

.....I was also reminded by at least one person how idealistic a person I am. I mentioned the term 'Arthurian Romance' at least a handful of times. I referenced Tolkien and made mention of 'chivalric attitude' at least once. Idealism can blind you if you are not careful. But it can create the most magical of experiences if you allow it to do so. Those 'magical experiences' are what I crave most in the SCA.

.....And realism? That's TBT's specialty. :-)

.....I'm not looking towards the next Q&A with dread anymore. The picnic setting should be a good one as well.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....I was demoted today! :-) Actually, I was. Over the weekend, the George Bush inspired National Security Personnel System (NSPS) went away. I went from a YC-02 to a GS-12. I took a look at my SF-50 today and instead of freaking out in a bad way, I freaked out in a good way. :-) I called the NSPS Transition Clerk and asked that since I was 'demoted' with my transfer out of NSPS, I was therefore no longer required to submit personal ratings and write-ups and that I should be moved out of the management program immediately?

.....I was prepared to move fast! I was already looking for a new desk. But alas, the clerk called me back a very short time later and said that I was still in transition and I wouldn't stay a GS-12 for long. Rats! I was looking forward to no longer doing self-assessments.

.....The mid-level boss is away on leave this week. The Big Boss missed me several times today, but I may not be so successful tomorrow. There are things brewing. Let's see how good of a tap-dancer I am. Although, maybe being in a grouchy mood would be a helpful thing at the Baronial Q&A tomorrow night? Hmmmm.... :-)

.....The Baronial Q&A. In some ways it will be extremely interesting. I've grown up a lot in the SCA and have survived two previous pollings, along with their reuired Q&A sessions. I know they are all different. But the basis of the dream of the SCA is still the same. So I don't anticipate issues in being able to answer questions sent my way in at least an adequate fashion. There are even a large number of things on which I'm quite passionate and if someone asks the right question... :-)

.....I think the other interesting thing for me will be to listen to the other candidates and their answers to questions posed to them. I know Talia fairly well, but she has a whole other life, with its associated experiences, that I know very little about. She will have interesting experiences from which to draw answers. Same with Talon and Jenae. I would like to learn more about them all to get an inkling of what they would be like as Baron and / or Baroness should they be selected.

.....Not necessarily looking forward to the hall. Must remember to get there a little early and open up everything. Must remember to bring any extra fans we have lurking around the house. Although that could be problematic in the noise factor. Hmmm....

.....Interesting questions posed to the candidates on the e-list. After the straffing run of last week the questions have been polite so more people are coming up with new questions. It'll be interesting to see if similar questions are asked tomorrow night? Or questions of a completely different nature. It's hard to tell really.

.....Wish I had good experience to draw from for gaging the crowd. All three pollings of which I've had a part have all had a different feel to them. Lots of factors involved in that I suppose, but I certainly am not going to go out on a limb and try and predict what anyone is thinking in particular. :-) Keeping to that thought might save my life. :-)

.....At least it is a touch cooler tonight than last night.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....Yesterday was the Baronial Picnic and I have to add my voice to the rest of the crowd by agreeing that it was a pretty good event. The weather was nice, not too cold or too hot. The turnout was good, and the people there mingled with no apparent agendas. Activities were just right. Clean up was easy. Food was good. The Pit Firing was a special treat, even if it didn't turn out exactly as Mistress Gwenllyn would have liked.

.....I had been a little afeared of the Picnic prior to attending though. Their Excellencies intended on opening up a discussion among the attendees concerning how they thought the Barony was operating now, and what they would like to see actually happen. Now, you wouldn't think that this would normally cause me any heartburn as we have a pretty good thing going here in Dragon's Laire. But lately a few people have discussed the lack of direction the Barony apparently has at the moment.

.....Again, this in and of itself shouldn't cause me heartburn. If the populace wants to actually go in a particular direction; well, as long as it is not going to do any damage I'm here to support it. I guess what was causing my own personal angst was the fear that the conversation would turn ugly. I kept having visions of days gone by when discussion would devolve into grievances and name calling. When people are unhappy and not quite sure of why, you can get that.

.....I guess in some ways I'm still affected by days gone by. You'd think that after eight years of a pretty functional place I would have let go of the bad days in Dragon's Laire. It is surprising to me that they still have even a little hold on me.

.....I think also I had a little fear for Their Excellencies as well. They are into Their fourth year as the Coronets. Four years is a long time really. And there is such a thing as 'Familiarity Breeds Contempt'. I was a little afraid that They would be the recipients of that to some degree. And, when all else is said and done, I do consider Them as good friends and wouldn't want Them to go through that kind of foo.

.....But, as the conversation started, I quickly realized that I needn't have worried. The populace is, indeed, feeling a need for some direction. But I could detect no bitterness directed towards Their Excellencies at all. I also couldn't detect any towards myself either, which was also another side fear of mine.

.....As I unclenched and started canvasing the crowd at the picnic, I heard a lot of interesting conversation. Some good ideas for events and activities were brought out and discussed. Some good questions were asked, and answered. And when I polled about thirty different people what they thought was happening to cause the current 'lack of direction' in the Barony, I received thirty different answers, with none of them being earth shatteringly bad. Definitely a relief.

.....Of course there are issues that need to be addressed. And those that were given to me I'll definitely take seriously. The good ideas that were presented will be enacted as best we can. But thankfully, I think that I can stop worrying about mass hysteria and anarchy and chaos and mutiny. :-)

.....I also kind of wish that Kingdom Law allowed for an anonymous view of what came up at the Baronial Polling recently. I was secretly hoping that we'd get some of the pulse of the Barony from that in writing. I can understand why the Law is the way it is, but on the other hand it is a little frustrating.

.....First thing first though, we need to re-establish a regular location for the Business Meeting and Fight Practice again. Plans are being enacted. The sooner the better.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....So, I'm on the phone with His Excellency Cedric the other night and he starts talking about preparations for a Baronial Polling to happen at the end of this year. I stop him and say, 'You mean, your confidence polling, right?' To which he replies, 'No, our polling for Baron and Baroness.' I'm REASONABLY SURE that he was pulling my leg, but for a few brief moments it threw me into a panic. As Seneschal, I certainly do not look forward to wrangling a polling.

.....But after that conversation and for a day or so after I started thinking about how much things have changed under Cedric and Brighid and how much they would change under the next couple, whomever they would be. That is neither good nor bad, it just IS. When Master Ralg and Tsuruko Sensei stepped up as Baron and Baroness, they had their own style and it fit our needs at the time. We were a broken Barony trying to repair itself and being given one last chance. I doubt that anyone else at the time could have pulled it together like they did.

.....Then when Cedric and Brighid stepped up, they took us into a new direction and it has worked wonderfully. Sometimes it is tiring being the Labrador Retriever Barony of the Kingdom. But it is a good feeling knowing how much we've contributed to the overall well-being of the Kingdom. We've done Kingdom events at a moments notice, contributed tons of largesse, physically supported Kings and Queens whenever needed, supplied the Kingdom with officers when the call went forth. We do it all and part of that is due to the energy that Cedric and Brighid put forth on everything they touch and every person with whom they connect.

.....So, when His Excellency brought up the subject of a change I started thinking about who would succeed them and how much things would change around here. Without a great deal of thought I could come up with a large number of couples who'd make outstanding candidates, who would bring their own unique style to the Barony and take it into a new direction. I personally think that is a sign of a healthy Barony, that ability to field a large number of viable Baronial couples.

.....TBT and I have discussed being considered as B&B. If Their Excellencies are serious in wanting to step down in the next year, we'd have to say no to even the possibility. But we talked about our abilities and what we'd bring to the Barony. We talked about what direction we'd take the Barony and what goals we'd like to achieve. It is rather exciting to think about those possibilities. If you have a strong group of seriously motivated and good-hearted people, there really is no limit to what you can accomplish.

.....But there is a real down side as well that has to be considered. It takes a LOT of REAL WORK to be Baron and Baroness. It really is a full time job in and of itself and you really almost give up your social life in the 'real' world if you actually want to do a good job as Baron and Baroness. I've worked pretty closely with Cedric and Brighid on a number of things and the amount of committment that is required is unbelievable. I don't think that most people take that into account when they think about the job. I think that most people see the good parts only.

.....And, to be honest, if a Baron and Baroness are doing a good job what the majority of people see only is the good parts. They don't see all the hard work, angsting, frustrations and fatigue that sometimes happens behind the scenes. Think of any play of which you've ever taken part. Think about the chaos that happens behind the scenes. It's the same thing in the SCA.

.....I first thought of being Baron a while back and ran with Catelin during the polling when Master Ralg and Tsuruko Sensei were selected. I had NO CLUE of what I was thinking of doing. I had a little better clue when I ran with Talia, and the thinking process on my part was considerably more intense before deciding to throw my hat into the ring. And now that I'm thinking about it for a third time I am actually thinking, 'Do I REALLY want to do this? I just don't know.'

.....HOPEFULLY, His Excellency was pulling my leg and plans on staying put for a number of years still. I'm not sure I want to handle the obligatory drama at this time. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.

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