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.....It is Wednesday, a little over seven days before we start setting up the site for September Crown. There are still a number of things left to do before the event, but the countdown is getting louder in my head. It is getting much more difficult to concentrate at work, much to my embarrassment on several occasions. The new job on the East Coast is requiring much more coordination than is the usual case. So I work hard at maintaining focus on where it needs to be and let the other leaders on Team Haggis do what they need to do to get the work done.

.....Last Saturday's Serjeantry Trials were completed, and I believe I even felt a little of that magic from the previous year there several times during the day. The candidates had all worked incredibly hard and it showed. TBT and I were so tense on Friday that we could hardly sleep. That tension did not relax during the day very much at all. The schedule kept pretty much on track though, with some extensive scheduling work by Madrun and Ellen.

.....There were several moments of sheer nervousness. And at least one heart wrenching decision to be made. Which was not easy at all. If anyone thought that we arbitrarily made a snap decision without much soul-searching and wringing of hands, they do not know us very well at all. By the time we made it home that evening, we were absolutely exhausted.

.....Sunday started off quickly with a party to move hay bales from Port Gamble down to the September Crown site. It took a little longer than I wanted it to. But we also had to do some adjustments to the site map. Take some measurements. And a few other things that slowed down the day's progress. But we moved close to 100 bales to site. It'll make do for September Crown, hopefully with enough left over to make it to Last Chance.

.....The Madrone Equestrian Guild traveled from Seattle and toured the site. The only concern I heard expressed was what challenges were to be performed as part of the Kingdom Equestrian Championship at Crown.

.....I also experimented with a plastic tent spike in the secondary camping area. The ground is a little rougher in that patch of land than it is on the main field of site, so there was some concern about stakes being able to be pounded into the ground and staying in place. I pounded a plastic spike in several different place and in every spot the stake pounded in evenly and stayed in place. So I think we'll be O.K. in this area for the weekend.

.....Last night was the Social at Fight Practice and was a good turnout, with some new people in attendance. Heard a number of stories about Autumn War. I put a note out to the list asking about stories from the War, and Arqhai told us about the battles online, which seemed to be epic.

.....Tonight is about the move of the Water Tank from Oliver's house to the site. It has been at Oliver's for a number of years now and I doubt very much that he is sorry to see it go. :-) When we are done with it at September Crown it'll go to its new home at the Poulsbo PUD. Which reminds me that I need to speak to Barnet about making arrangements for that. I'm not sure when we'll have a free day in September to make that move.

.....Tomorrow night is the Regional Pelican Meeting. Actually, a Teleconference. It's an experiment to see if we can make it work O.K. Scheduled to last an hour (as that is all the bridge line time I could capture). The online meeting we did last year was O.K., but had some issues. Conversation flowed based on an individual's typing speed, along with how many people were co-located in the room with the typist. So a person by themselves could be talking up a storm and moving on through the candidates, while the slow typist was spending extra time just trying to get their thoughts typed out. I'm hoping that an actual conversation will flow easier. We'll see.

.....Friday night is my shopping night for event related merchandise. I have a list of stuff like batteries, hoses, marking paint, etc. Renart pointed me towards Home Depot for cheap hosing, so I think I'll start there first. Costco seemed a bust for everything except batteries.

.....Saturday morning I am going to sleep in first. :-) It'll be the first morning I will have been able to do that in a while. I'm very much looking forward to it. Sometime that day though I'll need to bring Lobelia down so we can clean her out and get her ready for September Crown. I'd like to have her all packed up and ready to go by Sunday as we're planning on taking her to Imperial early in the week to have her electrical system checked out. We think it is a dead battery, but we want to make sure as we will be relying on that power for the length of the weekend, four days in total.

.....I also need to clean out the garage. It is stuffed full of things accumulating since June Faire that will need to be packed into the U-Haul on Wednesday for transport to site. Both pavilions, the Arts and Sciences signage, our chairs, and much other assorted 'stuff'. by the time I go through it all maybe I'll be able to walk through the garage again. :-)

.....Time to get busy, got Ajax to pick up and a tank to move.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....One crisis completed at work. One more left to work through. Then I'll feel better about taking leave around Labor Day. Things were not looking good a couple of days ago. The Team is on site and many of the things we had put into place unraveled completely. We scrambled to get alternatives set up and operable. It takes a lot of effort to get something as large as a government entity moving in a course correction. But we're getting there. The timing was just not the best though. I wish it had waited just a handful of weeks more, or had not happened at all.

.....I think most of my Live Journals this month are going to be nothing but lists of things that must be done for September Crown, rants about people who are doing their best to make September Crown my epitaph, or various and sundry whinings about how tired I am of all this. Which strikes me as amusing as the day after Crown I'll probably write about how wonderful an experience it was. :-) I think though that I mainly find the writing about it to be cathartic. I can get my worries out of my system, sort of an exorcism, and move on to something that really is important, and certainly more interesting. The job of autocratting an event is actually fun. I love seeing it all come together. But when the special personalities start coming out in full force is when the energy drain really quickens.

.....Those on my friends list should be pretty much used to all the whining by now though.

.....The one thing that is finally about to be done is Madrun's circlet. In the grand scheme of things it is just a tiny, tiny part of the big picture. The torc made by TBT is incredibly beautiful, and I think will be well received judging from the reaction of everyone who has seen it to date. But I wanted to have something to be able to give to Madrun that came from my own hands. I'm not a tailor. I'll be so busy with September Crown that I really can't take any part of the vigil or party on to myself. But this is something I can give to her to show my own appreciation and pride in her accomplishment. She can wear it once for the ceremony and then have it available in case she has an apprentice or friend someday who needs a circlet of their own.

.....Had to clear some space in the garage though to make that happen. It is a total disaster area at the moment. The entire front half is filled with stuff accumulated from June Faire, Honey War, July Coronation, etc. I'll have to get it organized to go into the U-Haul for September Crown, but that can happen next weekend. Had to clear quite a bit of space around the buffing wheel. I did remember to throw a tarp up behind the wheel and try and contain some of the dust. I'm actually glad TBT is about done with the torc as the garage is just a little messier now. :-)

.....I had the opportunity to come home a few hours early today and I'm glad I took it. It allowed me the chance to work the circlet (as I don't know how I'm going to squeeze any more free time out of the schedule in the next two weeks), but it unexpectantly allowed me to spend a few hours with TBT as we ran around town to do errands. We haven't had a lot of chances to just hang out together lately. Even though we were just doing chores, it was still fun to spend time with her. :-)

.....Tomorrow night will be the last minute angsting about Serjeantry. Although I surely can only whine a little on that one. I'm not one of the candidates! I know several of them are very nervous. But judging from some of the recent conversations, they have all been seriously digging into their studies. I'm looking forward to some interesting presentations on Saturday.

.....It'll be a long day, starting early and ending later than last year. TBT and I will have to split forces to witness as much of the proceedings as possible. But the schedule is set. The judges look to be set. The autocrat and lunch-o-crat look to be set. We're as ready as we're going to be. Just a few last minute things for TBT and I to pull together before the Trials.

.....Last year seemed chaotic as well leading up to the Trials. TBT and I had no idea how the day was going to turn out. But somehow a little magic surfaced sometime during the day and it all came together. There is no guarantee that we'll be able to tap into that same magic this year, but I'm ever hopeful.

.....Sunday will be busy. We have two loads of hay to move from Port Gamble to the September Crown site. Supposedly, the Madrone Equestrian Guild is going to meet us on site for a walk-through of the Equestrian area. But I haven't seen any confirmation on that. I wonder if Tsuruko has heard anything on her end? I'll have to ask.

.....Retinue meeting on Sunday night. September Crown is not a Baronial event, of course. But there will be stuff to prepare for it. Last Chance will come up rather quickly in September as well and we should see what we can do to prepare for it as well. We still need to get the final listing of awards to Gabrielle. She and her scribal support are really churning out the scrolls, for which we're grateful. I'm hoping that after September Crown we'll get a chance to sit down with her and see where we are on getting charters made for some of the newer awards.

.....Next Thursday will be our Regional Pelican Meeting. It's going to be a Teleconference. Everyone can stay local with no long drives. I'm hopeful that it'll work for us. I have to get the agenda put together and uploaded to the web-site, but that should come together fairly quickly. We'll have a little bit of a learning curve to work through the etiquette of a Teleconference so as to avoid talking all over each other. Although we tend to do that anyway, even when we're meeting face-to-face, so I don't expect that to be any new and vexing problem. :-)

.....Next week will be the full on onslaught of September Crown preparations. Supplies to be purchased. Support verified. Printings done. Talk Ian off the ledge before someone blows a gasket at something he's said (I include myself in that category as well :-)). I think I'm going to try and convince a few people to help me move the water tank on Wednesday. But I need to verify that Barnet will actually be available that day as well. It'll take at least three other sturdy bodies besides myself to make this happen. The tank is not incredibly heavy, but it sure is bulky.

.....The City of Bremerton has been interested in our preparations for September Crown. The Board of Health and I have been playing phone tag for a couple of days now as they are trying to find out about our food merchants who'll be on site. I asked Bronwyn to warn the merchants, but I think I'll send another reminder so that they are all forewarned. We've never worked with the City of Bremerton in this capacity before so I don't really have a good idea of what to expect.

.....The weekend of August 25the and 26th is my last deep breath before it all happens. I intend to sleep in on both days and as leisurely as possible make my final preparations for the event. Lobelia has to come down for clean out and stocking. The stuff in the garage has to be organized so it will go into the U-Haul. I'd also very much like to clean the house at least a little bit as it is an absolute pit at the moment.

.....Then Crown starts, with set-up starting on Thursday, and the masses arriving on Friday, August 31st. Three days later we'll be done and I'll be ready for a good, long rest. Only have to make it through eighteen more days. Keep moving, one day at a time.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Two events down. Two left to go. They are the most difficult ones, but one day at a time. Seventeen days until set-up. Twenty-one days until tear down is complete.

.....TBT and I attended the Huntsman's Challenge this last weekend. The idea was good and those who attended seemed to have a great time. But it was such a small attendance. From what I understand there were something in the neighborhood of between fifty and sixty people registered in the gate books.

.....Lots of reasons as to why were discussed. The fact that August is one crazy busy month is probably the first and foremost. With Autumn War and September Crown in the mix and the fact the typical SCA player has only so much time and funding to budget for an event brings it down to a choice many times. Do I go here or there?

.....I didn't realize that William Tell, another big archery event, was only a few weeks away as well. It has a long and established history too. So I could see why many would choose William Tell if it came down to a choice between archery events.

.....TBT and I wandered the event on Saturday, but mainly spent the day with Countess Elisabeth under the PoofKAS. Saturday's weather, while sunny, had a little bit of a breeze which made it almost chilly underneath the big pavilion. TBT did a lot of embroidery and I mainly tried to relax and net fret about September Crown. :-)

.....The potluck late in the evening was really good. Richard grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and everyone still present provided for the potluck. As usual no one went away hungry. :-) We had a small Court where we gave Snapdragons to Thorfinn and Khulan for all their work in archery over the past years. We've been trying to catch up to them for a while and finally had the chance.

.....Sunday was the breakdown of site. The archers spent most of the morning on the ranges, so we finished around 4PM.

.....The drumbeat for September Crown keeps speeding up and getting louder. Tonight is a Team Haggis III meeting. We will nail down final placement of all the big activities. Which should be fairly straight-forward. We were just wrestling with exactly how much space the Erics and surrounding pavilions took up. It's quite a bit. Dragon's Laire is not going to get as really nice a spot as originally planned for camping. But the alternative is not really that bad either, so we'll make it work.

.....After that it is all about the set-up. People are starting to get excited about a Thursday set-up of site. I do not want five hundred people milling about over the day on Thursday! So we're trying to be judicious on things. We'll get lines painted in the morning. Start setting up Baronial infrastructure after that. Later in the day the Kingdom Trailer will arrive with Talon and we'll start setting up the main pavilions on the Erics.

.....Every available frontage foot around the Erics has been claimed. We're starting to urge people to share, bring their smaller pavilions, turn their pavilions sideways, whatever we can do to fit more of them in. But pretty quickly here we'll have to start letting people know that we can't fit them in. We're going to do our best to accommodate until the end.

.....Serjeantry Trials this Saturday. Thankfully, most of the administrative stuff is being handled by others now and so we're not driving ourselves crazy trying to set up stuff for it as well as prepare for Crown. Need to remember to some special gratitudes on that score. Even though we've been running with testing throughout the summer, Saturday will still be a long day. It ended up being fun last year, but may be a bit more grueling this year. I still look forward to the final Court where the Serjeantry members are named. Which reminds me that we have to talk to Madrun and Alaricus about what they are going to do for their upcoming Quests.

.....Sunday will be the hauling of hay bales and the water tank to the September Crown site. Need to remember to move the Retinue meeting to later in the day if at all possible. Gwen mentioned making it a dinner meeting. We need to resolve that tomorrow night at the Social. I need to remember to check on when we can access the water tank at Oliver's as well. I think that Sunday he is away at another function. But I don't remember when he goes to do that. I'll have to dig up the e-mail he sent me.

.....Looking forward to the weekend of August 25th and 26th. Sure, it is the weekend before September Crown. But I've been working hard to make it a weekend not tied to meetings and gatherings and such. It is a weekend of preparation at home to get ready for Crown. I'll have to bring down Lobelia for her cleaning and stocking. Then clean the garage so that we can pull everything out for the U-Haul, which will be picked up the Wednesday before Crown. We might even get some of the house cleaned up a little. That would be ultra nice. :-)

.....But, really, what I look forward to the absolute most is the ability to sleep in for maybe one extra hour. That will feel extraordinarily good. :-)

.....Crown is coming together. It looks chaotic as all hell. But these events always do. The people involved know what they are doing for their part and will get them done. The Region is really coming out to help, which is very much appreciated. There will be complaints and issues and stupid things that happen. But that is normal and we'll deal with them all. But the Crown Tournament will happen on Sunday. We will sit on the hillside overlooking the Tournament Field and cheer all the fighters onward to glory.

.....That's the part I keep forgetting in all this. There are reasons I really do like this site. It has some nice views and will set up for some nice activities viewing. The fields are flat and level. It is relatively close to town. There are reasons it might make a good June Faire site. We just have to see how it works.

.....Team Haggis III meeting awaits....

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Mondays are always tough. Everyone at work seems to want to catch up on stuff they let slide on Friday, and hurry up and get ready for the stuff they have on their plates for the upcoming week. So panic always seems to be in the air. Add to that all the cobweb clearing to be done from being home for two days straight, and it can be a real grindstone. Have I mentioned how much I hate Mondays?

.....This one is actually kind of interesting though, in a rather frustrating way. Dame Angharad has been maintaining Facebook in support of September Crown. We have been putting out messages to let people know they should make sure and pack some water. At first we weren't sure of how we would tap into the water available on site, and whether it was drinkable. Then, when we were given permission to tap into that water and were assured that it was drinkable, it was noted that it was a distance away from most of the camping. So we continued to encourage people to bring their own water to site. Dame Angharad dutifully promoted this on Facebook. And was pretty much beaten over the head for it with demands that all Teams should ensure sites had adequate drinking water before they were allowed to be part of a bid.

.....Dame Angharad handled it quite well actually. On my weekly informational e-mail on September Crown I'm sending out tonight, I'm making sure to include a note on drinking water. Hopefully people read it and regain some calm.

.....Working our way through the vehicle and parking issue. We're publishing notes on all the Parking Passes that essentially state people have 30-minutes to unload their gear once they get to their campsites. We are trying to get cars moved off the camping area as quickly as possible. We have never used this site for an SCA event before. We don't know its particular quirks and pitfalls and I'm being cautious. The fewer cars located in camping means fewer potential traffic jams.

.....People sent Angharad posts expressing their concern with the policy. I will have to spend some time clarifying that policy I think. It really is a hollow 'threat'. We're not planning on towing vehicles. We're not planning on standing around with stopwatches and timing people so they can be bullied out of the area after the 30-minute mark has passed. It is essentially an awareness issue. We really need people to move their vehicles off-site as quickly as possible.

.....I put this subject on today's Informational as well. We'll see what kind of response I get to it directly. If people seriously become unglued, we may need to soften that stance just a bit over the next several weeks. But as an awareness thing? It may be doing its intended purpose anyway.

.....I actually had fun at Summer Madness this last weekend. I was not looking forward to it on Friday as it had already been a long week and I have a 'to-do' list about ten miles long. I pulled myself out of bed on Saturday morning and had to convince myself that I needed to get dressed and get into the car.

.....But once we arrived on site? I had a lot of fun and the day seemed to just breeze by. Although it was HOT out there. I did redden up a bit. Thankfully there was a slight breeze every now and then, and I don't think it was as hot as was predicted. But it was still too hot for me none-the-less. :-)

.....We witnessed Morgan complete the Armored Combat portion of his Serjeantry Trials later in the morning. He and Conchobar sparred for around forty minutes. Morgan is a beast with two weapons. It was mesmerizing to watch. And inspirational. That's actually what I have enjoyed the most from the Serjeantry Trials, the inspiration that comes from watching the candidates perform and succeed.

.....After the individual one-on-one combat forms, Diomedes and Ajax joined in for some squad tactics and leadership trials. Again, in my opinion, Morgan was awesome in everything he did. It was magnificent to watch.

.....About an hour after the combat trials, it was time for the candidates to perform their bardic and dance trials. There were seven candidates present: Master Cedric, THL Morgan, THL Caius, THL Nidda, THL Jenae, THL Magdalena and Lord Albrecht. I enjoyed all of their bardic performances. I think the audience did as well as they maintained their attention throughout. :-)

.....For the dance portion, they all demonstrated the same two dances: Double Bransle and Horses Bransle. In such a large class it is a difficult thing to say they all need to do something different. But we may have to consider that for next year. I don't know. I'm still on the fence at the moment. *I* like dancing, but there are many who would otherwise have nothing to do with it.

.....The final dance was a Carolingian Pavane. Each of the candidates pulled a member of the audience out on to the dance floor with them and taught them the steps to the music. Then everyone lined up and we went danced through complete. At that point they had completed their dance trials. But we still kept dancing for one more song, the Korabushka, which is probably my favorite dance.

.....After that, it was time to set up for the potluck. Theodoric and Ella did a great job with all the cooking. I enjoyed the sausages and pork immensely. I certainly did not go away hungry, that's for sure. :-)

.....We sat around for a couple of hours, until early evening when the Mosquito Air Force came out in force from the surrounding swamps. It was like an air raid, with all of us running for our cars to get the heck out of there as quickly as possible. :-)

.....As we left for the evening I was once again reminded that we had survived a June Faire in the Uplands of Port Gamble one year. It was not our best June Faire, but we did survive. Which further reminded me that September Crown will be fine as that site is larger than the Uplands and will do fine for what we need it to do.

.....On Sunday we scooted back up to site to help Gwenllyn and Loric take down site and pack it all into vehicles for next weekend, when we'll go back to the Uplands for Huntsman's Challenge. :-) I anticipate it will be even easier than the picnic as I think we'll not have to be on site so early. But Sunday may be a challenge as we'll start working on plans to get all the bales of hay moved to the September Crown site.

.....Sigh, one thing at a time. Have to survive the week first.

.....Tonight is the last testing session before Serjeantry Trials itself. A Corpora Test tonight, based on Kingdom Law and Society Corpora. Ten essay questions. It should go fairly quickly as Magdalena gave a stellar training session to most of the candidates. Although, to be honest, most of them knew all the answers before Magdalena even started speaking. :-)

.....Tomorrow night is the regular Social at the VFW. I do not think we have anything scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, which may be a miracle! But maybe I'll be able to get caught up with a few things dealing with September Crown. Then on Friday, back up to the Uplands to help with Huntsman's Challenge set-up.

.....And the wheel turns again. :-) The following week will be the roll-up to Serjeantry Trials on Saturday the 18th. The 19th will be a day of moving hay bales, and maybe a water tank if we're lucky, out to the September Crown site. If we can make that happen we might have the weekend of August 25th/26th open to actually get ourselves ready for Crown. I'm hoping for that at any rate.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....For some reason I have a few spare minutes. Rather unusual. I have all my reports and paperwork ready for the Business Meeting. I have a 'to-do' list that is about ten miles long. But there isn't enough time to get started on anything. So I'm sitting here rummaging through Live Journal. :-)

.....Even though there is much happening, it is September Crown that seems to hold most of my attention. For two extreme reasons. I actually like Autocratting events. I like building a Team. I like seeing that Team come together and actually build something cool. Because each Team Haggis is made up of a different set of people, each event shepherded by a Team Haggis is unexpected in its outcome. There are always exciting things that happen.

.....I look forward to building Team Haggis IV some day. I will have stepped down by then and will not feel the absolute need to incorporate everyone in the Barony in the process. I plan on going to certain people and asking them to take on roles for the Team, just so I can see the final outcome. I've got ideas on a Twelfth Night bid. Certainly NOT something that is going to happen for a number of years. But I've got ideas. :-)

.....Although the jury is still out on this September Crown. It's going to happen. Just what adventures happen because of it are difficult to say. We'll see.

.....I would seriously like to take a few moments this weekend to clean the house. It is looking really, really bad. I don't think we've done a complete set of laundry in many weeks now. The cat boxes have been scooped, but really need a cleaning. The kitchen is rather gross. It'll take just a couple of hours to bring it into something resembling close-to-normal.

.....There is a pile of stuff in the garage that needs organization as well. A lot of it will have to go to Crown at the end of the month. It has to move so I can actually get into the garage from the front doors. Most will get loaded into the U-Haul. But there are other things that need to be loaded from there as well. We'll need every single table that we can muster. I've got several heavy duty tables stored in the back, plus a couple of plywood-work stand tables, that can be loaded into the U-Haul.

.....Several people have tried to convince me that we need to camp with the Barony, and there is a part of me that is tempted. But with everything happening and my anxieties about the site itself, I'm still on the 'let's stay in Lobelia' side of things. Which means we have to remember to get some work on her booked. If we get that work done at Imperial the week of Crown, we can drive Lobelia the half-mile to site after the battery work is done. Nice deal. :-)

.....Tomorrow night we'll run up to the picnic and see about the campers and the set-up of site. Gwenllyn has had a rough couple of weeks. I'm hoping that the weekend will be relaxing for her. It should be pretty quiet.

.....TBT wants to do some archery. I'm not sure what I want to do during the day. I'll have to root through my stuff and see what looks appealing. I'll have to fight the urge to want to start taking hay bales to the September Crown site. :-)

.....During the day, probably at several different intervals, we'll be watching the Serjeantry Candidates perform their dance and bardic recitals for the Trials. Several have family obligations to attend later in the day and so will have to finish their performances early. I'm hoping the rest will be able (and want to) stay at least until after the picnic dinner and for the start of bardic to perform. It would be a great way to start the bardic fire session.

.....We did the dancing last year during the later part of the afternoon. So we may end up doing that as well. I need to remind the candidates to not give verbal 'help' during the dancing. That help was not very helpful to Talon on Tuesday. I'm at least partially to blame on that one as well as I was trying to be 'helpful'. The version of the dance music Talon was using was different than any I was used to hearing, so it threw me off. I had to remind myself many times that there are as many variations of steps and music as there are dance ministers in the world.

.....Theodoric is leading the pot-luck dinner on Saturday evening. He'll make sure we have a great main course. If last year's pot-luck was an indication of what to expect, we'll not go away hungry, that's for sure.

.....TBT and Madrun are busy preparing the A&S Siege contest for Saturday. Even *I* do not know what the secret ingredient is this year. It's always a hoot though. I still have the puppet that Mael-Duim made in my image with last year's secret ingredients. :-)

.....We're not camping on site this year, so we'll head off for home late at night on Saturday. And then come back on Sunday for the tear-down of site. I don't think it'll take long. I wish we could leave everything set up for the next weekend's Huntsman's Challenge, but apparently we've been told that everything has to come down.

.....I'm hoping though we still get everything buttoned up in time to get home early so I can get some chores done before we go back to work on Monday.

.....I suppose I should pull myself together for tonight's Business Meeting. It'll be here soon. Oliver's second-to-last. I wonder if he is feeling sad? Or more relieved? I can't tell and don't really want to pry. It's been a tough year for him.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Normally, I can get the voices in my head to all go in one general direction. But today, nothing I do seems to convince them to come together from the five different directions they are currently going. :-) I'm hoping that concentrating on a Live Journal entry will calm them down a little. :-)

.....August is certainly shaping up to be one hopping busy month. I'm looking at my calendar and practically every single day on through September 4th has something scheduled. I think we'll survive, but survive with sanity intact? I am not laying odds on that one yet.

.....This weekend is the Baronial Picnic. I had originally thought that maybe we could camp on site that weekend. That is not going to happen. Too many things to get done. I'll come out on Friday night. Then TBT and I will spend the day there on Saturday. I'm hoping to travel out there Sunday to help with the break-down, and will most likely at least make the drive up there.

.....Saturday itself should be relaxing for the most part. It is mainly a gathering of the Populace to sit together and share some good times. THL Theodoric is in charge of the picnic feasting (at least the main dish), with the rest being provided by PotLuck. The day itself is scheduled to have the Arts & Sciences Siege Competition (which is a lot of fun). The Archery Ranges will be in operation. There are a number of games in the offering as well, like Bocce (maybe glow-in-the-dark if scheduled right :-)).

.....There is some Serjeantry scheduled as well. We'll have a small Court where those who completed their Quests this year will give a summation of what they did, and then declare their Quests for the upcoming year. I'm looking forward to hearing their words, and seeing the reaction from the audience. All who undertook Quests this year completely understood our intent and set the bar high on initial Quest accomplishment. TBT and I are very pleased with the results. I hope the Quest concept as molded by this class of Serjeantry continues to build on the success. It could be a great way to reinvent the Serjeantry all together as a concept.

.....The current class of Serjeantry Candidates have some activity this weekend as well. Their bardic and dance presentations. Which we will NOT make them do as a part of Court. :-) I'm hoping that in a more relaxed setting, the candidates will be more at ease and will involve the audience more into what they present. At least that is my hope.

.....The following weekend of August 11th and 12th is the Huntsman's Challenge as sponsored by Dragon's Laire. It is billed as a Archery themed event, even though there will be other activities as well. TBT and I will go out there during the day on Saturday. I'm going to try again to go out there on Friday to see how the set-up is going. But we'll play that one by ear. On Sunday though, I'd like to be out there to see if maybe we could take a load of hay bales away to the September Crown site. I have not mentioned that to Barnet yet, so I need to corner him shortly. It may not be doable, but it would help reduce the next weekend's workload a bit.

.....I'm actually looking forward to seeing the York rounds shot. Rather an inspiring site watching those arrows arch high in the sky on their way to the target. Not many sites these days can accommodate a York Round, so we're hoping that the archery community in the area will take advantage of the opportunity.

.....The following Saturday of August 18th is the Day of Trials for Serjeantry. The culmination of a lot of angst and hard work from a number of people this year, and not just the candidates. :-) Dame Ellen, I'm sure, has had several hair pulling sessions trying to deal with us. THL Madrun has had a number of interpretation arguments with us as well. But it is all starting to come together. The candidates number eight at this time (Cedric, Morgan, Talon, Jenae, Magdalena, Albrecht, Caius and Nidda). They've been working hard, doubly so if you count all the things they are doing in addition to the Serjeantry requirements. But I have high hopes for them. It'll be a full day at the VFW Hall outside Silverdale.

.....The weekend of August 25th and 26th is the final weekend before September Crown. The last minute opportunity to pull everything together to make the event the following weekend. I'm angsting mightily over the site, overly so. But only because it is an untried site. There will be surprises. But if it can work it'll make a nice event site. This is the weekend where we get the water tank moved to site and all the hay bales (or the second load if we were able to get some moved the previous weekend).

.....I've started putting out informational notes on all the local e-lists about things to expect from the site and the event. People zeroed in right away on the primitive aspects of the site. Which really means that those with mobility issues will have some issues to contend with. We're renting a golf cart from Barnet for the weekend, so that will help a little bit.

.....I think the site is beautiful myself. It has a nice view of the Olympics. Where it is situated allows for a cooling breeze at the warmest parts of the day as well. At least that has been my experience the past several times there.

.....I've also been putting out calls to the local branches asking for any help I can get. They've started responding thankfully. A couple of branches have volunteered martiallate gear to supplement ours. Glymm Mere has volunteered to act as our Waterbearing force for the weekend. Druim Doineann has volunteered a sizable contingent to help at gate. I'm starting to feel a little better. But I'm still hoping for some dedicated groups to help with parking, Lists, and infrastructure set-up / take down. I smoozed the Madrone Seneschale this last weekend to help with the infrastructure. But am still really hoping for more gate and parking help.

.....September Crown will be what it will be. I need to stop stressing about it. No matter how much you mitigate, there will be those who will complain bitterly. And, by that time, I will be so strung out from August that I will have to mind my tongue carefully to not say what I really may be thinking to say. :-) But in a little over five weeks it will all be over and we'll be cleaning up for a well-deserved fall and winter break. :-)

.....Wish us luck!

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....'Spider Pig! Spider Pig! Does whatever a Spider Pig does!'

.....Ever had one of those thoughts that just seems to be on auto-repeat in your brain? All Day Long!!!!??? Of all the thoughts I could have, it was this one it had to be! :-)

.....Taking just a moment to catch my breath as this is the one day this week that is not overly scheduled with things that must be done. It has finally come to the point where TBT and I will have to split forces to meet all the obligations as well. :-) It has absolutely nothing to do with trust as it has more to do with not having all the information directly. I just like soaking it all in myself. But alas, that is not to be tomorrow. I have a meeting out at the September Crown site to meet with Her Grace Miranda to check out the Equestrian area. Which means that TBT is going to head up the Wyvern meeting in Bremerton.

.....I think in some way TBT is looking forward to the meeting. Well, maybe not. We were9 just adamant from the day we stepped up that if it was a Polling Order that was desired that the members should do the required work for it, including actually meeting and polling. We set the pace by requiring a minimum of four meetings a year, once per quarter. And it has worked for the most part. Although we do need to add another award to the stream. Right now we give out Snapdragons by the handful at the lowest level, and then progress to the Wyvern. There either needs to be something in the middle. Or maybe something above the Wyvern and make it the mid level award. Still musing over that one. Although we have certainly added to the rolls of various awards over the past year. Don't want to saturate the market.

.....I hope that Miranda likes the area picked out for the Equestrians. It is a nice field with a lot of nice amphitheatre-like viewing area above and around. The only real sticking points are the water and the road down to the area. The road is going to be fixed by Barnet next month. The water is still a little sticky. The plan is currently to bring the water tank out to site and set it beside the Equestrian area. But that will require approximately 900-feet of hose to reach from the source to the tank. Or else put the tank on the mid level terrace and fill it up with 450-feet of hose and then move that hose from the tank to the Equestrian area. Either way will require a lot of freakin' hose! :-)

.....I regret now being the sluggard I was last weekend. There is a lot to do over the next couple of weeks, but I did enjoy taking things a little slower. Even though Monday was, well, Monday, I still made it through the Serjeantry Testing of games on Monday evening with most of my humor intact. I actually enjoyed most of it, until I started feeling like a zombie around 7PM. It was time to go home at that point.

.....Even though most of the candidates had been at An Tir / West War over the weekend, most of them still managed to drag themselves to the testing and accomplished all of it with no fuss whatsoever. I was impressed. :-) The only two who did not make it had been hit by issues on the road and had made it in late that day. I did not begrudge them missing the testing at all. They'll easily make it up next Monday, which is one of the few free Mondays during the testing period.

.....Tuesday was the regular Social / Fight Practice. We were shown the video of Sargent Alaricus as he performed a demonstration of his Serjeantry Quest of learning to shoot archery from horseback. It was very nicely done. I'm looking forward to hearing the Tale at our Roundtable Court at the August Picnic. I'm also looking forward to speaking of this to the Barony as a nice example of the Serjeantry learning new information and taking on new challenges during their Quests in order to inspire the Populace, bring new learning and new skills to teach the Populace, and to demonstrate to the entire Kingdom what makes Dragon's Laire the great place it is and how it is going to continue to grow ever greater. I need to spend a little time putting together a few words to the Barony extolling the three Quests completed to date.

.....This weekend is going to be busy. There is a gathering at Blackberry Hollow, the usual summer gathering. It is a rather nice and relaxing day to spend with friends. Then we're slated to take off to another gathering in Seattle. Although we'll probably leave it before the real drinking starts. :-)

.....Sunday has a Retinue Meeting scheduled in the morning and then another gathering in the afternoon. Then it is off to the airport later on Sunday. I have my itinerary and reservations all made, except for parking the car in SeaTac. I must remember to call that one in sometime on Saturday.

.....I'm not looking forward to a week in Indiana. I normally love traveling as it is the chance to see people and places I don't normally see. But the timing for this one is not that great. There is so much happening in August and September. I'd rather stay home and keep up with it. But I really want to go to the conference as there is much happening there as well. All the right people will be gathered together in one location. I'll be able to look various managers and engineers in the eye and gain some understanding on what is happening with our batteries. I always come back home with a lot of information that I am grateful to have received.

.....Friday the 20th of July is going to be a long day though. My flight takes off from Indianapolis at 6AM. It is a two hour flight to Chicago and then a four and a half hour flight to Seattle, arrival at 11:30AM. A trip home as quickly as possible and then piling into the car for a run down to Ranier, Washington in time to check into the hotel for July Coronation.

.....Must remember to get the Baronial Pavilion to Albrecht and Magdalena this weekend. I'm grateful for the fact that they've volunteered to be the custodian there and back. But I've also heard nothing from the Autocrat Team on who is going to be on the Erics and who isn't. We might end up not needing to pull the Baronial at all and sharing space with Madrone. I should probably poke at that tonight with an e-mail or two.

.....The 'to-do' list is starting to grow dramatically. I should probably organize that a bit.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....If you know me and my writing style, I warn you now that what is below the cut is almost 'Ian-esque' in style. I have a rather large jumble of thoughts on how the concepts of Champion, Championship and Serjeantry should work and interact. What is here is just the highlights of that jumble of thought as I wanted to get something down in writing to read later and organize. I also warn you in that what is here is only about twenty-five percent of what I was thinking. :-) Just those words I could capture as they were rolling around in my brain. :-) And it is very confusing in parts, especially when I jump from one concept to another. But if you think you understand what I'm thinking and where I'm going with it I would welcome your thoughts, even (and especially) if you disagree. Or can clarify something I've said in language that makes the concept easier to understand.

Of Champions And Serjeants )

.....Hopefully you do not now have to schedule a visit to talk to your favorite psychologist. :-)

.....Thanks, Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It's a Monday, that's for sure. I'm glad I have nothing officially scheduled for the evening as I need a break. Work is being a little stressful. The SCA has not exactly been calm either. I'm not complaining too much as none of it is going to cause me to run away screaming, but it certainly hasn't been a brainless planning exercise either.

.....On Saturday I had a walk-through of the September Crown site with Althaia and Loric to look over the martiallate area on the main field, and the archery field move. I'm actually glad I made the trip. As usual I get a new perspective of how much room we have every time I walk the site. In my mind's eye, the place keeps shrinking on me. :-) I'm still on guard though. The Norseland site is not the Nix Farms, there is a finite amount of space and I'm reasonably sure we're going to fill it when the event is in full swing.

.....It was wet on Saturday, but even with all the water the site drained nicely. No marshlands that we could see. Always an inspiring site, and very important when you are putting the squeeze on space. We learned that lesson very dearly in our move to the Uplands for June Faire that one year.

.....Loric was fine with the archery field move. What that does for us is open up another space for parking. Every parking space will be dear and will reduce the number of cars we end up having to park on Imperial Way itself, which is the final back-up plan for parking for the weekend.

.....Althaia and I walked the area designated for the Main Erics. Althaia seemed happy with it, so we're good to go. She is also working with Sir Bane to organize the Crown Tournaments. I need to make sure that Jenae gets injected into that conversation as the Royal Liaison. This is my reminder to do so as soon as I get out of Live Journal.

.....Saturday afternoon we met with Dame Ellen and reviewed the Serjeantry Testing Matrix. Ellen did a great job putting together the matrix. It really puts everything into an organized and easy to follow visual. She is already starting to line up judges. TBT and I need to start working with the candidates to make sure they are talking to Ellen for their specialties, and are lining everything up to complete their Trials by August 18th. Also need to find an Autocrat for the Day of Trials itself. A couple of people have volunteered, and I have their names in reserve, but I'd very much like to find someone not directly connected to the Trials so they would not have to split their time onerously.

.....Saturday night was a trip to the Theatre with the Protege Adelheidi to see Brave. Very much Disney, but some stunning visuals. I actually enjoyed watching it. I would have preferred a more complex story, but it was made for families so I need to just enjoy it and not over-think it. :-)

.....Sunday was the main group walk-through of the September Crown site. We had about fifteen people out there. We systematically went from section to section of the site. First up was RV Camping and parking. We will need to see if the brush hog can clear some of the RV area for us. Ralph is estimating upwards of thirty RV's and it will take up a little more area than I wanted it to, but we'll make it work. We looked at the already established parking areas: the main parking field, the field next to the RV Camping, the Pea Patch, and the EB Building. There is space behind the EB Building for a number of cars, or large cars with trailers, so this will help and definitely eased my mind some.

.....The area we had considered for archery is now a parking area for upwards of seventy-five cars. We'll need to brush hog the area, which we're scheduling for the second week of August. Barnet walked through the area with us and visualized how it was going to work for us. We also need to remember to get the Port to remove the chains from our one way road and unlock the gate out.

.....Barnet also test drove the scooter around site. It easily made it over most areas. The only area he declared off-limits for it was the secondary camping field. I primarily wanted the scooter for use in taking folks with disabilities from the parking lot down to the main field. So I think we're good to go for at least that much.

.....As we walked down the hill from parking we identified more pockets of grassland that could be used for camping of smaller groups. There will be some whining as this really is a rather primitive and undeveloped site. This being our first time using it there will be 'surprises' as well. As soon as July Coronation is over I need to start spamming the Kingdom e-lists on a weekly basis and warn people of the challenges of the site. Angharad will be helping in that regard as well.

.....The Equestrian Area is rather nice, with quite a bit of room for horses and trailers. I think it'll work nicely. The only concern is the past history of the site being a remediation area. It has been officially removed from all governmental clean-up site lists and is declared safe for use by humans. But there is some question as to how much that applies to horses, who will be chomping up grass on the site. We're working with the state now to get some clarification on that. We've told the State and the Port of Bremerton that Equestrian Activities will be happening, and they were not overly concerned about horses. That gave me a cautiously optimistic feeling. So now we just need to follow that through and get something in writing.

.....Immediately adjacent to the Equestrian Field is the archery range. We had Master Andras with us on Sunday and he also took a look at the range and immediately suggested that it was large enough for a York. To ensure safety he advocated angling the range just slightly to point more into the forest, but even after walking up and down its length thought it would work well. He is off to speak to Loric to see if they can manage to include the York in the thought process for the weekend.

.....There is a nice feature to the Equestrian and Archery fields that includes a viewing ledge above the fields where the activities can be observes somewhat from above. The entire site is terraced, so the Equestrian Championship itself could even be viewed from the Main Fields. From that standpoint I think the site will work out nicely! Even better if it eventually evolves into a June Faire worthy site as that viewing ledge will allow for Modern observance without interfering with the Equestrian activities themselves. Something for future thought.

.....We traveled to the Main Field from there and discussed the lay-out of Erics, Marketplace and the Arts & Sciences area. With four of us in the mix there were approximately four different visions of how this was going to look. It took a little bit of frustrating back-and-forth before we all came to the same page. But we finally did as the map Ian produced later looked just how I thought it would be. We'll have to revisit this again at least once or twice as Their Majesties will have to weigh in on where They want to camp in relation to the Royal Pavilion, and how much space they'll need. Flexibility will have to be our middle name for a while.

.....Walked on out the main road after that and finalized placement of gate and looked over the EB parking. Then called the meeting complete. We were out there for two and a half hours, but I think it was productive. People are starting to see the event come together. Now we just need the details to come together.

.....Visited with Cedric, Brighid and Madrun some on Sunday afternoon. Haven't had the chance to sit and talk much at all lately. We've all been so busy. Cedric was completing some nice camp tables. They looked good, and folded flat. As soon as TBT and I step down, the re-vision of our camp is one of the first things to happen. Although to make that happen will require some major infrastructure re-build, like a new pavilion. TBT's is very nice, but it is on the small side for the two of us. We were talking about maybe the next size larger and using TBT's as the porch in front. Which has some appeal. We'll need to give some more thought to this.

.....This week includes the regular Social on Tuesday, a meeting on Wednesday, and then TBT travels on Friday to Iron-and-Ink. It'll be me and the Rhys Monster at home this weekend. I was somewhat torn on going with her, but with as busy as this summer is turning out to be I would very much like to utilize every minute possible to get ready for August and September.

.....And maybe clean the house up just a little bit. It is pretty bad right now.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....I'm just now starting to come out of the June Faire fog and starting to feel closer to normal again, although still really dragging. Monday, I ignored feeling tired and sore so I could get through the day of clean up and taking stuff into the house. But as soon as I was home that afternoon, it was Zombie time.

.....Tuesday was a hamster wheel at work, trying to get caught back up with the stuff that had piled up on my desk. The Mid-Level Boss was not happy with my taking that time off. Not that he complained directly about it, but the past couple of days have been a little tense. It finally came to a head today with a proper dressing down, of which I just kept my mouth shut. Unusual enough for me that he ended his rant early and moved on. Usually, I spend extra time arguing with him until it gets to the point of people wanting to leave the office. :-) I was still tired though and it was easier to bite my tongue than to do the usual.

.....Tuesday was also the June Business Meeting. More popular than I expected it to be. I made notes, for which I'm glad because I've already forgotten much of what was said. :-) I rambled through the Baron and Baroness letter, hoping that I made sense for the most part. Although I did manage to wake myself up enough to plug the importance of being respectful and courteous to our volunteer base, which really is our lifeblood.

.....Yesterday was my first complete evening home without somewhere I had to be. TBT and I went out to dinner at Azteca and then I worked on getting e-mails out the door. Everyone has been seriously concentrating on June Faire, to the exclusion of many other things. After the Business Meeting people started waking up and realizing that it was only two months before Serjeantry Trials and two and a half months before September Crown. No one panicked, but I could feel the concern in much of the e-mail traffic coming my way.

.....Arrangements have been made to hold the Spring Western Regional Pelican Meeting in Tacoma. A meeting room has been booked and e-mail notice sent out. We're a go. This one looks like it is going to be more attended than usual. Which I think is good news. We have a number of candidates that need to be figured out and moved on, in one way or another. If we can get a diverse crowd to the meeting, it would help settle a lot of issues. Now I have to get the agenda chopped up and tossed, then uploaded onto the Kingdom Server. It will be done this weekend.

.....Serjeantry Agenda has been re-worked and sent out for review and reminded to the candidates. It was not changed a great deal, mainly combining a few tests to free up a few nights. And the moving of Military Sciences to the Trials themselves. But we had to make sure everyone was on the same page before mass confusion was created.

.....We racked our brains and tried a number of different possibilities, but we ultimately could not move the Trials off of Autumn War. I feel for Blatha An Oir. It was just the proverbial perfect storm this year though. A new event, Huntsman's Challenge, and Dragon's Laire hosting of September Crown. Add to that a rather large class and a hugely busy September calendar, and we were stuck. We're going to mitigate as best we can. TBT and I are day-tripping to Honey War this weekend, and sending formal representation to Autumn War itself. We're also going to ensure early on that we do not run into this issue next year.

.....I'm rather excited that people are already talking about entering the Serjeantry Program next year. At least a half dozen people have asked probing questions about what the Trials are and how best to get through them. I'll be happy if three of them enter next year. I'll be ecstatic if we get six letters of intent going next year.

.....The one thing that seems to intrigue people the most is the Quest component of our Serjeantry Program. It has been very interesting to get the questions and feed-back on the concept. The flexibility and uniqueness of the idea seems to be its greatest strength. Although that very concept could be its greatest weakness during times of complacency. We'll have to monitor that closely.

.....I wish I had spoken of the results more. But it was an exciting thing to see the Serjeantry Cloaks placed over the shoulders of THL Jahnkin and THL Madrun at Saturday Court during June Faire. I spoke briefly about the cloaks being a blank slate, in preparation to carry the weight of the Questing of years with the tokens that will be placed upon them each year. The Quests are a nice way of keeping the Serjeantry engaged and active long after they've completed their Trials. A way to continue active inspiration of the Baronial Populace, hopefully into trying new things of their own. Really exciting stuff. :-)

.....The last e-mail of the evening was of our next September Crown meeting. At least a half dozen members of Team Haggis III hit me with e-mail traffic this week to ask about contract items, placement of activities, ideas on parking, how to run gate. People are ready to get moving on this. I'm actually glad to see the excitement. A part of me wished that I had had a week off to recover from June Faire. :-) But I am glad that things are moving already. I set up a meeting on June 14th. Just need to make sure I still have the conference room at the library booked for us. Then get an agenda completed and prioritized.

.....At June Faire last weekend, I took on a new Protégé, THL Adelheide Leeuwin. I'm still floored by the fact that I've attended as many June Faires as she has been alive! That fact just seems to keep rolling around and around in my brain, like churning water at the bottom of a fall. She is good people though, and just in the past handful of years that I've known her the maturity and growth have been very noticeable. She is motivated and wants to do big things. I doubt very much that I'll actually have to do much for her, other than advocate as needed. And maybe be available for advice as needed. But she already has big plans for things to do and is actively working on making them happen.

.....I formally passed on the blue rope belt that Master Ralg gave to me like a decade or so ago. For some reason it seemed to go with Adelheide's personality more than it did with Isketol or Aelianora. Adelheide is actually more like me than my other two Protégé are. Which is why I think we'll get along well. Although I have to say I also value Aelianora and Isketol highly because they are so different than I am. :-)

.....Isketol has other priorities these days, mainly his health. He hasn't been actively playing in about two years now. I don't really want to end that relationship unless he asks. I'm good with where it is at the moment.

.....Aelianora is super busy with her own stuff as well. The farm keeps her extremely busy, as does her book and research. She is on a slightly different path. But I love talking with her and listening to her research and her thoughts on things. So I'm certainly not going to let that relationship go either. I try to make it a point to check in with her as often as I can. As well as make sure I have a complete resume close by, with all of her activities duly logged on it. :-) She's another one that I don't think will need any 'help' from me. She'll come to that point sometime where she'll decide to kick it on to the next level towards service and she'll be utterly unstoppable. In the meantime, she still manages to provide more service than people realize. Good people she is. :-)

.....Not much on the agenda for this evening. I think I'll enjoy that for as long as possible. This Saturday will be a day-trip to Honey War. I have to remember tokens for all the Dragon's Laire populace taking part in the War Point competitions. Looks like it could be upwards of two dozen. TBT would whip out a bunch of her tassels. But maybe I could put something together utilizing our Arion-made tokens. Hmmm, must think on that one. Sunday will be a Lobelia clean-out day, so she can be taken back to storage. Then back to work.

.....Next Monday is a trip to Madrone to negotiate War at Hot Summer Lights in Druim Doineann. If things work out right, it could be quite the gathering late in July. If Madrone, Aquaterra, Blatha An Oir and Dragon's Laire can get motivated there could be many fighters in the war. That would be fantastic for Druim Doineann. It could be just the motivation they need to go to that next level.

.....Although I thought it a very cool thing on Tuesday when Althon announced that the Shire had come together and volunteered nineteen people to help directly with September Crown. They want to help at gate. That is good news! We can certainly use the help. We'll need to make sure to show them some extra love for supporting us that much.

.....I don't think there is anything yet planned for the weekend of June 16th/17th, so it might really be, dare I say it?, a free weekend. :-) I certainly hope so! :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....I actually enjoyed May Crown. Unlike TBT, I'm very much a provincial, so I don't suffer the same angst she does in re-living personal history. When TBT started in the SCA, she shot up the ranks like a comet. Became a Laurel within a few years, and a Royal Peer (Princess / Viscountess) very early on in her career. She hung out with all the cool people early and was an integral part of many a momentous occasion in Artemesia. When she travels to the big Kingdom Events, so sees an overlay of the excitement of days past. The thrill of adrenaline. The knowledge that you could affect things on a very large scale.

.....For me, I started out very slowly. For the first three years of my SCA career practically the only event I attended was June Faire. After that I took on very small jobs and hung out with only a small group of friends. Then slowly built on that foundation. I played almost exclusively inside the confines of Dragon's Laire for almost a decade before I started exploring the big world of An Tir. So when I attend the big Kingdom events, there is still a sense of awe that permeates them. When I roll into site, there is the excitement of knowing a new King and Queen are going to be decided, or Crowned, shortly. There are people to meet that I don't see all that often. There are experiences to have that aren't a part of the fabric of Dragon's Laire.

.....The Kingdom Events are also enhanced, of course, by being the Baron and Baroness. You are there to represent a group of people who are vital to the make-up of the Kingdom. I do my best to watch out for them and enhance their experience in any way I can. Being an introvert by nature, this can sometimes be difficult and I am out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. But I think the exercise is a good one for me. I certainly learn much, make new friends, and experience things that I fondly recall later. For all the whining I do about how difficult it is to wear a Coronet, I will miss it when it is gone and am glad to be doing what I am doing now.

.....The drive was a long one on Friday, but the scenery was good. Lots of good conversation with TBT. We don't often get that kind of extended time alone to discuss any and all subjects under the sun, so I took advantage of the time and kept her talking the whole way to site. :-)

.....We caravanned with Madrun and Dylan (in Florence Radcliffe), Dame Eleanor (in Lord Burghley), and Gwenllyn & Tsuruko (in 'the Tahoe' :-)). I'm not big into caravanning with others as I like to go at my own pace. But it is a good feeling to know that there are people traveling with you in case something troublesome comes up. Stopping for a bit to eat and you have instant companionship. And there are others to help you find your way if you get lost. :-)

.....We ended up getting a start from the Mullenix Park-And-Ride at about 8:30 to 8:40AM. Gwenllyn was LATE!!! :-) We made good time though going over Snoqualamie Pass and stopping for lunch in Wynatchee. About three quarters of the way to site we ended up following along with Jess Roe of Prose And Steel, who drives a little slower than I would have liked. Which surprised me considering the type of person he is.

.....We rolled into site about 3:30PM. Jullila (the Autocrat), [ profile] julillamagna, greeted us at the gate, with her ever present smile and wave. An attitude she managed to maintain the entire weekend. She did an absolutely fantastic job of being the Autocrat Team Chairman for May Crown. I hope she does more of these events as she is a natural. After a break of course.

.....THL Mateusz had a site marked out for the Barony fairly close to the Erics, right behind Merchant's Row. We had a rather good turn-out for the weekend. We had ten pavilions in our enclave and nineteen people in that area alone from Dragon's Laire. Over in the RV Ghetto were also Master Ralg and Dame Ellen. Over in the Royal Encampment were Master Cedric, Dame Brighid, Don Talentus, THL Jenae, and Lady Magdalena. What is that? Twenty-six people? I would definitely consider that a good turn-out.

.....TBT and I shared a pavilion. THL Madrun was to our right. Lord Radmund started out to Madrun's right, but was moved across the street by the burst water pipe later in the evening on Friday. To our left were Dame Gwenllyn and Tsuruko Sensei in the 12x12 with awning that I lent them for the weekend. To their left were Master Andras and THL Liesel, along with CeCe and Lady Elisabeth Trostin and her daughter Cassie in their own tent. Across the street from them were THL Alaricus and THL Kassandra in their large tent. THL Renart and THL Aelianora were next to them. Then Mateusz and THL Rycheza. Dame Eleanor was beside them. With THL Caius and THL Nidda in the final tents (before Radmund moved in next to them).

.....The weather on Friday was not bad at all, although the sun was fierce. Set-up of pavilions did not take all that long. We headed out to dinner at about 7PM and had dinner at an Australian Steak house on the north side of Omak, which was tasty. After a stop at Safeway for ice and water (after we learned that water to site had been shut off), we made it back to site around 10PM. At that point I thought about wandering site, but I was done for the day and just went to bed.

.....The night was cold, but not unbearably so. I managed to sleep rather well and slept in the next morning until at least 5:30AM or so. Gwen and Tsuruko woke up around 6:30 or 7AM and make short work of preparing breakfast, for which I was very grateful. I took off fairly soon after for my 8AM Pelican meeting.

.....If I end up having any influence whatsoever, I'm going to push to move the Pelican meeting out to 9AM or 10AM (or later) at September Crown. Wish me luck! :-) The meeting itself was really foo-free for the most part (or, the foo that was experienced was expected, which made it not so bad to experience). It went by rather quickly as well. A little after 9AM, I was wandering back to camp to pull stuff together for the rest of the day and putting them into the Dragon Bag, which made its usual appearance at the Pelican Meeting. :-)

.....At 10:30AM we met with a group of the Western Regional Barons and Baronesses at the Aquaterra Pavilion to talk about the June Faire Board of Directors as a concept. I had invited Madrun and Magdalena along for just that purpose. But the majority of the time, almost two hours, was spent talking about Serjeantry. It is interesting how Serjeantry as a concept is really taking off again around the Kingdom. It is modifying itself to fit new uses. Everyone has ideas on what they want to see happen with it, which is making each Barony's 'plan' more and more different from both the original model and from each other to fit their own individual culture. A very fascinating conversation it was. There seems to be consensus that we should do more as a Region together, but there is still a lot of gap to bridge before we can really talk of combined Trials.

.....We lined up for the Grand Processional a little after 12:30PM. There were not a whole lot of branches represented after the seventy-seven fighters were introduced to the Crown. But it was good to come together as a Barony and process into Court. I think that most, if not all, of us in attendance for the weekend processed in. A rather nice sight that was. :-)

.....After the Processional, TBT and I handed out our tokens to those fighting in the Crown lists. Master Cedric and Master Andras were first as they were direct representatives of Dragon's Laire. But we also presented tokens to Sir Rauokinn and Mistress Inga, two people both TBT and I find incredibly inspirational.

.....During the fighting of Crown we had a lot of fun from the Baronial Pavilion recognizing practically everyone who crossed in front of us. Many were surprised, but most found our antics to be amusing and were friendly in return. I think people like being recognized in any situation, even in such a silly capacity.

.....The silliness only expanded though during the evening Court. TBT and I sat directly behind Countess E. and we messed with each other the entire time. We passed out booze by the bottle, teased each other incessantly, and, I think, even managed to embarrass Master James in his capacity as Court Herald. Although he deserved it with how he butchered names of those being called forth! :-)

.....Upon completion of Court we migrated back to camp for dinner. Even though we didn't plan a communal dinner, practically everyone there shared a little of what they had made for themselves. Then we gathered around the firepit for the evening bardic gathering. It started off a little rocky, as per usual. But picked up steam as the evening progress. We were rarely, if ever, in key. But everyone there had fun, which was the intent. Lady Magdalena joined in at one point with her absolutely wicked sense of humor. Master Cedric sang with us a little, completely off-key, which matched my off-key rather well. So it was still a win as far as I was concerned. :-)

.....Caius and Nidda pulled out their ukelele's after a while and played instrumental to a few songs. They ended up playing one of my absolute favorite songs of all time, Hallalujuha. I know the words by heart, but couldn't seem to make the decision as to whether I just wanted to listen to it sung, or to sing along. It ended up being a hodge-podge on my part. But I still enjoyed it immensely.

.....After a couple of hours we all grew tired of singing and migrated in different directions. I followed Brighid and the Seneschallettes over to the big party of the evening. But I didn't stay long as I was rather tired at that point. I ended up in bed by 11PM. I AM getting old. :-)

.....The next morning was another early rise. I was up around 6AM and started quietly breaking down camp before everyone woke up. By the time TBT was stirring, all the decorations were down and ready for stowage. The Curia meeting started at 8:30AM, and I managed to get quite a bit of the campsite put away before having to run.

.....The Kingdom Financial Committee meeting was extra long due to the discussions on Kingdom Events. I did witness Jenae and Magdalena present their bid for An Tir / West War. They were very professional! :-) The bid was a shoe-in, although I did get volunteered to help. Etiennette insisted that their event have its own warranted Exchequer and they asked me to do it. I could not say 'no'. :-) Besides, it will not be a big deal at all. I just reminded myself that I have a couple of questions to e-mail Etiennette about funds for the event.

.....I gave my September Crown report a little later, and it was probably the shortest report I've ever given! I was antsy at that point as I wanted to breat down camp and get on the road! :-) And about an hour and a half later, we were. Still in our caravan. We made it home by 6PM.

.....It was a good weekend. I enjoyed it. And I missed Lobelia only a little bit. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....I was thinking about when I last posted to Live Journal and realized that it had been over a week. The time has really run away from me. But I still would swear to anything that June Faire Season is a temporal phenomena that really messes with the mind. At least it does with mine. :-)

.....Work has been rather intense lately. The Shipyard is taking a deep breath before really launching into a grand re-structuring of the management, from the top of the civilian leadership, all the way down. A lot of people are antsy and full of anticipation. Some positive, some negative, but mainly just a 'let's hurry up and get started because we're tired of waiting'.

.....The structure of our Submarine Battery Team is something of a model for what the larger Shipyard structure is going to look like when all is said and done. In fact, our Team is specifically called out in the Desk Guide as an example of how the new model works, and can be successful. So from that standpoint, I'm not worried much about a lot of huge changes coming my way. But the desk guide I just finished reading has a lot of differences between what we do and what the new model is supposed to be, so I am a little nervous. We'll see. The model is supposed to be fully functional by the end of July.

.....Our schedule in and of itself has been rather intense as well. We're in the midst of one installation, have another fully in preparation to launch in August, and three more right behind it. Next year is going to be tough.

.....June Faire looks like it will go well. The Board is fully engaged and everything is lining up nicely. It even looks like there are people who are going to miss May Crown so that they can attend to June Faire. Well, I suppose that could be just me, but it kind of seems that way. :-)

.....The Serjeantry Schedule has been out for a while, and we'll jump into it as soon as we've recovered from June Faire. There has been a large amount of angsting about the Trials being on the same weekend as Autumn War. We are taking a harder look at it to see if we can't move the Trials to an earlier date and compress the overall schedule some. That's just me talking now. Haven't vetted that with all the other parties who play into that prominently (like the Candidates and the Secretary), but it would be nice to free up just a little more of August in preparation for September Crown.

.....Packed a little more for May Crown today. At least one stuff bag and a bin. Excavated the bedroom a bit. Most of the clothes are put away and we can walk from one end of the room to the other. The kitchen is excavated as well. The cat boxes are all cleaned. Laundry has been moving for several hours now. So I feel a little accomplished.

.....Would like to finish the bedroom tonight as tomorrow might be a little busy. The 'to-do' list is long. I think we'll try to get the sign done though. It will be such a nice day tomorrow that the paint will dry in a hurry. I don't think it will take long either. Which reminds me that I need to see about making the arrangements to get the signs to Poulsbo. They go up over the three day weekend. I must remember, I think I'll write that down now.

.....Tsuruko reminded us about June Faire Court as well. We have a rough draft, but must finalize it. Would really also like to make arrangements for a meeting with Caius so we could go through a walk-through of the plan.

.....Dame Tamlyn has been working hard to produce a set of charters for the Barony, especially some of the newer awards that TBT and I created. I had a good look at the Dragon's Company charter today. It was absolutely fantastic! We haven't been able to concentrate on the details of the charters as we would have liked, but Dame Tamlyn really ran with this one and the results are even more fantastic than I thought they might be.

.....I have whined a lot about how much work being Baron has been. But I think I need to mention the wins more often, because they are certainly there. In the end, no matter how difficult it has been, I'm actually very glad to have had the opportunity to be the Baron of Dragon's Laire. It has been and will be the biggest and best learning experiences I've had in the SCA.

.....TBT just awoke from her nap and mentioned the magic word on her way down the hall, 'dinner'. I think I'll sign off for now. Will probably post the upcoming 'to-do' list tomorrow, which will most likely be epic. I should enjoy the current good feeling for as long a moment as possible. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Watching the sun set from Gate A-8 at SeaTac Airport. There is something romantic in watching the airplanes take off and land across the sunset. :-)

.....On the 11:20PM flight to Dallas - Fort Worth, at which point I'll catch the 7:20AM flight to Jacksonville, Florida. On my way to a conference in Kings Bay to discuss an upcoming installation. We'll actually get into Jacksonville sometime around 11AM, grab our car and then run out to Kings Bay to get our gate passes. We're going to do our best to get down to the waterfront tomorrow afternoon and claim space for our office and work area. Then see how many connections we can make with those actually working for TRF-Kings Bay.

.....Tuesday is the actual conference itself. We'll meet with all the others performing installations during this availability and see if we can de-conflict all of our schedules. Then we'll make as many deals as possible to help each other out and prepare our work agreements so they actually make sense. Or at least as much as possible. When the work actually starts, the paper sometimes isn't worth a whole lot. I think the more important thing is to network with everyone involved so that it is faster and easier to get things done when trying to work together.

.....The Mid-Level Boss tried to convince me to take a Tuesday night red eye out of Jacksonville so that we could be back at work on Wednesday. I gave him THE LOOK and reminded him that HE was the 'Employee Of The Year', not me. :-) I think he was pulling my leg though as when I asked him what flight he booked he told me that he had grabbed the same Wednesday flight as I did. :-)

.....Spent an hour this afternoon watching the Serjeantry Candidates practice their fire starting. I still find it magical to watch the process. When Conchobar lit up his nest of sisal and it started burning, I aplauded him. :-) I guess I'm easily amused and excited. :-) I had a great time watching them all learn the process. I just wish I could have stayed to actually watch them all light their fires. :-)

.....It really took me back to my own Boy Scouting adventures. I was lighting fires like that some twenty-five or so years ago. I wish I had been taught about the char cloth as Conchobar taught everyone. That seemed to make things so much easier. When I learned I had the flint and steel and rained sparks down on a bed of fuzz. The dandelion fuzz I used went up nicely. But the char cloth seems to hold the sparks longer and catch them easier.

.....I practiced starting fires for a good month straight. We had a Boy Scout Jamboree with an Orientation Challenge. We were given coordinates that we had to find and then start a fire to mark our location. It was timed to the point where the fire was actually burning wood. I must have lit hundreds of little fires so I could churn it out in just a few minutes. I bet it would take me a lot longer now as I'd have to relearn how to hold the flint and strike it properly. But I suppose it wouldn't take too long before it came back to me.

.....Went up to the September Crown site on Saturday to scout out parking and RV camping. I'm glad we picked up the area we did for parking, but it still doesn't seem large enough to me. Theodoric, Master Ralg and I walked the area over several times to see it from different angles. We'll get several hundred cars there, but we'll have to resort to alternatives as well, including parking around the Pea Patch and alongside the road. But we've got alternatives.

.....Was able to drive the Subaru all the way down to the bottom of the site, where the Equestrian Activities are going to be. I did not have any problems in driving down there, but then I was not hauling a horse trailer either. There is one section of the gravel road that I think is going to have to be leveled out a bit for the trailers. I sent out a call to Bernie to see if he can help with a grader or similar.

.....Would also like to grab a brush hog to clear out the area where archery is set to happen. It isn't think with Scotch Broom, but might be by September. I suppose I could come out there on a couple of consecutive weekends and chop down Scotch Broom as well. But a Brush Hog is so much easier and faster. We'll have to see what we can do.

.....Left the keys for the VFW Hall with TBT so she can open it. I'm only away for three days, so I think it'll be more of a vacation than anything else. She'll have the entire bed all to herself. Well, as much as Constantine will allow her to have. :-) I'm always a little anxious when I go away, but she is a adult who can take care of herself quite well. Which I remind myself every time I do get anxious.

.....I forget what's on tap for next weekend. Although I do want to get organized for my May 2nd September Crown meeting. I need to put together an agenda for it. I also need to develop a few coping strategies for Ian. :-) Although I'm starting to come up with lists of things for him to do. Active minds like his need to be kept busy so that they'll stay out of trouble. :-)

.....Oooooo, also have to remember to pull the pavilions out of the garage next weekend. If I'm remembering correctly, we accidently put several vital pieces of all our pavilions into the Baronial Storage Unit. I'll pull everything out and take stock of what we have and what we're missing, and then stow everything on Heather. Then go down to the Baronial Storage Unit and pull out the Baronial Pavilion for storage in Heather to set up at May Crown. Then root through the poles and such to find our missing pieces. Then we'll be all set for May Crown and June Faire.

.....I think I'll close down the computer and wander for a bit. I would like to stretch my legs before the long flight. Will not get the chance to do so again for a while.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Fragment The First: On Tuesday at the Baronial Fight Practice / Social, a member of the Populace was talking to me about a new policy being implemented at Autumn War this year. Those in charge of various activities at the event are being asked to read and sign a 'contract' in support of the activities they are managing. This contract outlined what services were specifically going to be provided. What time they were to be on site and leave site. What facilities and structures they were responsible for overseeing. What hours they had to be in operation. There were apparently other guidelines and restrictions as well outlined in the 'contract'.

.....The person who was relaying this to me was unwilling to sign the contract. They were actually feeling a little insulted. In their case they had been providing this services for several years now. They'd always provided exactly what they said they would provide, and followed all the rules and guidelines given to them. This signing of a 'contract' to them implied that their word was no longer trusted. I could see why they were feeling like they were, to be honest.

.....It'll be interesting to see how this policy works out for Autumn War. I could see a 'contract' being implemented if these people were being paid for their services. Or if they were borrowing specialized or valuable equipment. But for an event that is staffed by volunteers? In support of an event that is catering to those same volunteers? I could really see that turning people away from volunteering all together. And not just because they feel insulted. I could see people reluctant from volunteering based on the simple fact that they would not want the added 'responsibility' implied in a contract.

.....My guess is that this is stemming from others who have made promises in the past but have not lived up to them. But that is inherent in a Volunteer Organization. It's the nature of 'Real Life' versus 'Hobby Life' and all the conflicts between (no matter how you define them).

.....This resembles a Renaissance Faire attitude actually. I'm curious if the inspiration for this came from that direction. At Renaissance Faires I've seen, the performers sign a contract and are paid for their services. Doesn't necessarily mean in a monetary sense as it could be camping or board. That would be a radical shift for the SCA, more in a 'pay to play' direction. It might be the answer to a lot of financial woes. But it certainly goes against some of the very basic tenets of the SCA.

.....Fragment The Second: There is a push happening for a Baronial Gathering on Saturday evening of June Faire. TBT and I are really conflicted on how this should work. The King and Queen will be holding Court that evening, and it will be long. There is at least one Peerage Ceremony of which I know is happening, and maybe another. TBT and I are also planning our own Court sometime in that time frame. So, by the time all is said and done, it will most likely be 8PM or so before we are all drifting back to our camps. We will have urged everyone to have made arrangements for dinner to happen before or during Court (due to a long and physically demanding day), so setting up a Baronial Pot-Luck for the evening seems like a non-starter. At dusk there is a Fire Show tentatively scheduled, and it is always well attended, so I'm not sure that scheduling a Bardic Gathering for that time seems problematic as well. So that really leaves a Bardic Gathering for later in the evening. TBT and I will be exhausted by then. We'll make a presence, but it will not exactly be an active presence.

.....I'm scouting about for ideas on where to take this. A gathering is important as it helps group unity. We like to promote Dragon's Laire as a family, or at least a group of good friends who work together. We should do something. Maybe we could have someone else sponsor a Bardic of some type that we also attend. We'll have to talk about this more and see what ideas come up.

.....Fragment The Third: We finally mitigated the last concerns with the September Crown site this week! Huzzah! The third site owner is no longer in the picture as the Port of Bremerton now officially controls that land. We met with the Port of Bremerton director on Monday to walk over the area and we were given everything we wanted. They want a contract, and to be named on the site insurance certificate. But they will not require a payment at all. Which is great!

.....Looks like they are also going to mow and brush-cut the site for us as well. Fantastic! This will save us a goodly number of dollars. Those dollars will probably go towards paying on the metered water to site. But it'll balance out in the end. The Port of Bremerton folks were also helpful in advice for traffic patterns and other ideas we might implement for the site. I'm starting to get excited. This weekend, the Parking Coordinator, the RV Coordinator, and I will walk over the area and come up with a plan we like.

.....September Crown planning meeting set up for May 2nd. We'll put together our overarching Planning Timetable for the rest of the summer. We have to be careful to not take any momentum away from June Faire. But there are a large number of things that could be done 'under the radar' between now and mid June.

.....Fragment The Fourth: This summer looks extremely scary. Starting with May Crown all the way through to Last Chance sometime in September. If there is not an event on the weekend itself, there is a Serjeantry Testing session the immediate Monday following each weekend. I thought we might be able to day trip to May Faire and Honey Way. But I just don't see how we're going to be able to do it. An Tir / West War is totally off of the table at this point.

.....Next year should be a little better. We'll have a pool of Serjeants who can lead the testing cycle. We'll be fine-tuning the requirements and trying to get them into a final form that is actually publishable. Although I'm still hopeful to make that happen this year. There are people who want to follow the Trials by following along with the written requirements. Which is actually a good way to audit the system in preparation of making a run for it themselves. My goal is to take each section bite-by-bite this summer as each test is completed and make adjustments right then, while it is fresh in everyone's minds. Then, after the Trials are complete in August, we'll be able to publish the final summary.

.....This August / September will be the worst. Picnic the first weekend. Huntsman's Challenge the second. Serjeantry Trials the third. One free weekend to prepare for September Crown. Then September Crown itself. We'll have one free weekend off after that, then the Last Chance Marshallate Championships will take place. It's somewhat exhilarating, but just thinking about it is tiring me out. :-)

.....Fragment The Fifth: One of the things that has defined our tenure are the messages to the e-list basically thanking and recognizing everyone for their efforts on behalf of the Barony. It is a small token, but one that seems to be appreciated by some. Others roll their eyes and hit the delete key every time they see one of them. :-) For which I understand and hold no animosity. They are huge masses of words to read through. But it has been good training in the art of putting out meaningful words by the gross. It has actually helped at work as well. Over the past six months I've been writing up awards recommendations and articles on what the Shipyard Team has been doing in support of the overall mission. Every one of those write-ups has garnered attention and achieved whatever goal was sought. Every one of the awards recommendations ended up as a winner. Every write-up I've done has been taken almost word-for-word and put into the Shipyard newsletter. It's been rather cool to watch.

.....Now, if I could shift that style over to Science Fiction / Fantasy, it would be outstandingly cool! I'd change careers in a heart-beat and just write for a living. Editing has never been my strong suit though. There would still be much to learn before I could get to that point. Starting with focus and the ability to stick to one thing through to completion. That's a very difficult one for me. :-)

.....Now it's time for the weekend. Many things on the 'to-do' list. But sleeping in for an extra hour or so each day certainly makes up for it. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Last night was the April Baronial Business Meeting. There was definitely a vibe of craziness in the air. It felt rather odd. And I've been obsessing over things from it ever since. I'm hoping that by writing some of them out here I'll pull them out of the hampster wheel of my mind and I can obsess over something else, like NORWESCON. :-)

.....One of our long time players was at the Business Meeting last night. I've seen this person maybe a handful of times over the past couple of years. But they've decided to basically 'return home' for a while and play. Which is probably a good thing for them. I've never left for any length of time, but I've always thought of the SCA as a dysfunctional family of sorts and as in any family, a good place to go to for support when needed.

.....This person may have an interesting time reconnecting with the Barony though. There were several interesting moments last night where people were confused about the questions raised or how to answer them. May have to keep an eye on this one.

.....Ever since the SCA Lawsuit recovery we've been taking an even closer look at our Baronial Finances. How we spend money. How we raise money. What can we do to improve how we do both. To raise awareness, the Baronial Exchequer put together a listing of inflows and outflows from 2011, and used it to set the budget for 2012. Then the Deputy Baronial Exchequer went through that Spread Sheet to give the numbers to the Baronial Populace in attendance last night.

.....We've done similar in the past, and I never know what to expect as it has run the spectrum. From full interest to eyes glazing over from boredom. Last night there was real interest. Which is fantastic! I wish more people were interested in how the funds were generated and spent. But the Deputy Exchequer did not have the answers to the questions raised. Neither did I for that matter. And they were good questions! The first one being if we could get more defined event costs and income by averaging out a number of years, which might be more accurate. The next question being to see some more details in what the expense totals actually were. The Deputy Exchequer is going to take those questions back to the Exchequer and get some more clarification.

.....We had our first Serjeantry Candidate withdraw last night. For good reasons. They need to concentrate on personal life and TBT & I applauded what that person is doing. We made sure to emphasize that they've submitted a Letter of Intent. If they want to start up again next year, or the year after, we'd fully support them in that.

.....We were concerned about another Candidate and had a discussion with them last night. Modern Life is been an issue for this Candidate and we wanted to make sure they understood that they could continue the Trials through to next year's class if they needed to do so. But we were told that Serjeantry was that important to them and they wanted to continue. We certainly wasn't going to argue with that one.

.....Later on that evening, someone mentioned something that really had me obsessing. It was mentioned that the job of Baroness was actually much more difficult than being the Baron. I, frankly, have been thinking about that statement ever since. I find the job of Baron rather difficult to start. I'm not sure I'd want it to be more difficult than it is. :-) I also thought that I had the workload balanced out with TBT rather evenly. I'm thinking that maybe we should take a second look at that. Are there things we can take off of TBT's plate to make things easier for her? TBT's strengths are not mine. And I've tended to think the reverse was true as well. But it is something definitely we need to look at.

.....I need to go and finish packing for NORWESCON. We were up until midnight last night and I'm rather tired. :-) Go figure. :-) Better make a list so that maybe I'll forget less. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....The check from the Kingdom Chronicler's Office for the portion of the legal settlement of the SCA is ready for a second signature and I'll have it into the mail this evening. Just because I'm paranoid I'm going to at least get delivery confirmation at the Post Office kiosk after the Social. I'll just be glad that the whole thing is coming to a conclusion. And it looks like everyone is maintaining an air of civility about the entire process. Which probably amazes me the most out of this whole affair. I was really anticipating flame wars and name calling all over the e-lists. But everyone buckled down and went to work. I wish we approached everything in this manner. The things we could accomplish would be wonderful.

.....I'm hoping and hoping that we as an organization have grown up a little from this experience and shaken off a little of our naiveté. The truly despicable things this person did in the East could really have happened anywhere. Vigilance and attention to detail are not always our strong points as a group, but we need to work on those skills. Amongst other things.

.....Enough said by me on that subject I guess.

.....That check hurt though. The accounts of The Crier are the lowest they've been in well over a decade. The 2010 figures used as a starting point were higher than the account levels are today. It's a good thing we're moving to an electronic format. I guess I will not have to worry so much about what to do with all the extra money as there is far less of it now.

.....Sir Rauokinn brought up a good point in her Live Journal, something we struggle with a lot even in our local branch of Dragon's Laire. An Tir is paying over $120,000.00 as their portion of the settlement while the West is paying around $36,000.00. Both of these figures represent 18% of the amount of the total funds held by the Kingdom in 2010 (including all the sub-branches). Good points were brought up. Is the West divesting itself of savings in order to make purchases (land, regalia, etc.)? Is it just more important to those of the West to purchase what they want and need up front rather than save for 'something better' or a 'rainy day'? Do they have their funds invested in ways that are outside the incorporation? I tended to doubt that one at first, until I started thinking about their Kingdom Land Fund (KHTI), which is an entity completely outside the SCA. Out of necessity and legality, funds cannot go back and forth between these two funds sources at all. But it makes a great and independent way to keep money secure.

.....That is merely speculations though. The West may just have a bigger vision in mind in the handling of their funds, or at least a much different perspective. It would be interesting to come together and discuss our different perspectives and trade ideas.

.....In Dragon's Laire we've always been careful to maintain a healthy balance just in case we have a disastrous June Faire one year. That way we'd have the funds available to support ourselves for at least a year to rebuild if possible. In theory the idea is good, but just how much do you keep in reserves. Enough to cover all the rentals and June Faire for a year? Enough for just June Faire? some have advocated that we keep little to no extra funding as we are a not-for-profit organization. I certainly don't agree with that radical of approach. But balancing out all the different viewpoints and desires of the Baronial Populace can be difficult at times, that's for sure. We could, if necessary, go without a meeting hall, rental fight practice site, and storage units. We've done that in the past, but having all this available has certainly made things much easier on us in many ways.

.....The next several months, at least through June Faire, are going to be interesting to watch from a financial standpoint. We really need June Faire to do extra well this year.

.....I need to keep an eye on the September Crown bills as well. If I can hold off on actually paying many of them until after June Faire, that would be good. I don't really want to have to knock on Kingdom's door and ask for funds up front. Just makes the record keeping more difficult.

.....Serjeantry this year could prove as interesting as last year. In 2011 the model was established. Now we have to go through the growing pains. There will be some changes still in the requirements as we find things that do not work well and things that could work better. We've discovered something already this year we want to incorporate for next year. Last year and this year we announced a time and location of when we would accept Letters of Intent for Serjeantry. We solicited for questions. But we did not, at least this year, actively canvas the Populace to see who was going to submit a Letter. The requirements for the Serjeantry are lengthy, and complex in parts. We need to ensure that the potential candidates understand exactly what they are submitting a Letter to do. I would hate for someone to become excited and passionate about becoming a member of the Serjeantry only to find out that it held obligations that they could not in good conscious accomplish.

.....I think what we might start doing next year is establishing a date, prior to Candlemas, where each potential candidate must meet with us by in order to talk about what they want to do and what they understand of the Serjeantry Program. That way maybe we can head off at least some concerns before they become concerns. Then, if the candidate still truly wants to take part, they can go ahead and submit their Letters. I have often thought that the 'out' was the fact that no oaths are given with the Letters of Intent. But really, a Letter is a commitment and pretty close to an Oath in reality. So we may have to noodle on that concept some more.

.....Something that has become 'tradition' for TBT and myself is a letter to the Baronial e-list after major events and happenings that involve members of the Populace. We think that recognition of the good things people do as part of the SCA is one of our primary missions as Baron and Baroness. The giving of awards is one of the great ways of recognizing these people. But you can't give awards to everyone at an event, they become meaningless quickly. People seem to like their names mentioned though, specifically connected to the things they do at any given event or happening. The letters we've been doing seem to be well received. But they keep getting longer and longer. It might be a good thing that Master Ralg has set a size limit to the Baronial e-list. I'm constantly running against that bulkhead these days. :-)

.....I'm just hoping that there aren't just as many people sighing whenever they see my name flash across the e-list on the computer screen. 'Oh, no, here comes another long snoozer of a post.' At what point does 'recognition fatigue' start setting into the people reading the list? I might start posting short posts on the e-list that direct people to longer ones on the Baronial web-site. I wonder if I can get Aelianora's buy-in on that as the Baronial Web-Minister? Hmmm, might be the way to go. I'll have to solicit some input on that one.

.....Time to update the e-list anyway with items I missed from the original Candlemas post. I seem to be rambling anyway, and it is almost time to go to the Tuesday Social.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....There are certainly a lot of things happening right now. It is sometimes difficult to keep them all straightened out and moving in the correct direction.

.....Ursulmas last Saturday was actually fun for me. It is not TBT's favorite event, based on past experiences. But for me, it is a chance to meet and talk with people I haven't seen in a while, and make tentative plans for the upcoming year. The intrepid Madrun and Tsuruko accompanied us in Florence, the Wonder Van, and we arrived at a fairly decent hour. Lots of people lent a hand right away and we were set up in no time at all.

.....We had a pretty healthy contingent of people in the martiallate Tournaments over the weekend. TBT and I did our best to make it to all the Dragon's Laire participants to hand out tokens made by TBT. They seemed to appreciate the recognition, and we think it is definitely important to recognize these people. So having done that always makes me feel pretty good.

.....Made the rounds of the Marketplace. I didn't see much that was new and revolutionary. Although I really thought the wool felted hats looked pretty good. Madrun ended up buying one later in the day. If I had a little more free spending money I might have bought one too. Oh, who am I kidding, I would have blown it all on books at Pastiche and threads at Sparrowhawk's. Just sayin'. Maybe it was a good thing I didn't have any real spending money. :-)

.....Attended the annual Western Regional Calendar Scheduling Meeting as hosted by Countess Daedin. Not a whole lot new and revolutionary, although it was kind of nice that everyone seems to be taking a lot more laid back approach towards sharing dates on the calendar. No head bashing at all. I thought it extremely interesting the difference in attitude between all the branches on the I-5 corridor versus us. They all think of neighboring branches as 'just down the road', which they are. We, on the other hand, are a $38 ferry ride away, practically on the other side of the world. Not sure if that attitude can be overcome, especially if gas prices stay pretty high.

.....Presented the invitation to June Faire, drawn by Renart. It looked really nice, so we definitely took a little pride in presenting it. Tried our best to make sure that Renart stayed in the general area so he could receive the gratitude due, or at least see Their Majesties pleased expressions.

.....At around 5PM or so, TBT was DONE and ready to go. We were all a little tired. I could have stayed a little longer. But Ignition was starting their performance and in that closed off hall the air was already starting to become think and heavy. Ursulmas always seems to do a number on my respiratory system. The cold and stifled air, combined with the many bodies in one location. I woke up wheezing a little on Sunday, and definitely feeling slow and run down. Spent most of Sunday recovering.

.....Monday was all about working on e-mails for September Crown, as well as answering questions needed for Pernell to turn in the ACCEPS form. We're almost done with it. Pernell will get all the signatures on it at the Thursday Business Meeting, along with a check to submit, then we'll be live in no time at all. Getting closer it is.

.....Also spent time resurrecting Crier files from the dead hard drive. We had a difficult time opening up the files on the DVD's that Talon gave us. We eventually were finally able to open the first disc; which thankfully had all the correct files on it. I updated the Spread Sheet and balanced all the books for late December and early January. Then finished the Doomsday Report for The Crier with approximately six hours to spare before the deadline on Tuesday. :-) But it is done!

.....The last checks have been sent out for the last paper edition of The Crier. From now on they will be produced electronically, with the handful of paper copies being produced by VPP in Tennessee. We will no longer take part in the production process, other than creating the files. It was sad to see that last check go into the mail. But it was going to happen. I found it interesting that VPP picked up the SCA contract. They have been aggressively pursuing the SCA since Day 1. I'm curious if there are members of the SCA on the VPP staff?

.....Tuesday night was the Social, along with the inaugural meeting of the Textile Guild. I think at least a dozen or so people showed interest in the Guild, so I'm hopeful that it will take off and do interesting things.

.....Oliver was not at the Social last night. I don't remember him saying that he wouldn't, and he didn't send an e-mail yesterday. I need to give him a call and make sure everything is O.K.

.....Tonight is the weekly Fight Practice at the OSSC. I have to remember to pack the armor from the garage into the car. Thankfully I bundled it all up over Christmas, so I only have to grab the one pile of stuff. There are new people who want to experience fighting in the SCA. I hope they like it. :-) We need more fighters. :-) You certainly can't deny the adrenaline rush you get from the hitting and being hit on the field. It can be addicting.

.....Before Fight Practice though, TBT and I are going to make a run to the Silverdale Harrison and meet the newest member of the Barony, born to Jess Dunn and Ehrig this last week. Ehrig made sure we knew last night that visitors were allowed and welcomed. :-)

.....Thursday is the Business Meeting. Friday is the packing for Candlemas. Then Saturday is Candlemas itself.

.....Right now it looks like three entries in the A&S Championship. Two entries in the Bardic Championship. And one entry in the Scholar Championship. All the entries look interesting. It'll be a long day, but fun as well. It'll be really interesting to see how the model works in the Scholar's Championship of having the one entry be 'judged against a standard'.

.....Evening Court is where the new Serjeantry candidates present their Letters of Intent as well. This year looks to be stunning! Possibly upwards of possibly a dozen, or more, people are presenting Letters. I'm a little overwhelmed just thinking about it. It's going to be a busy summer. But I'm supremely excited as well. Just seeing this Program take off like this, seeing the inspiration that comes with it, the energy, the good feelings of Teamwork and Fellowship. I'm extremely thrilled.

.....Then Sunday is our walk-through of the new September Crown site at the Airport. Many of the Team will be there and we'll brainstorm the possibilities. I definitely want to try and narrow the location of Erics in relation to the Royal Encampment and the Marketplace. Then we can build around that. We'll look at ideas on how to utilize the camping space most effectively, and take a look at the parking situation. We had a couple of ideas were kicking around on off-site parking. Bernie came up with an additional really good idea of utilizing the Airport grassy fields as a parking area. We're making the rounds now of finding the right official with the Port of Bremerton who can give us the go ahead.

.....Then it is off to the proverbial races. I want to get as much planned in February and March as we possibly can. In April the prime build up to June Faire will be in full swing and I don't want to mess with that. We'll fly under the radar primarily before picking up altitude again in June. That's why I tried to apply people to Team Haggis III who weren't already eyeball deep in June Faire planning. I didn't succeed fully, but I made some progress.

.....The week that was and will be on electronic paper. Time to get moving on finishing it. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....Nicol Williamson, well known as Merlin in 'Excalibur' of the '80's died this last week. Rather sad. The movie was a total cheese-fest, but his Merlin was rather cool.

.....It has been an interesting week at work. Admiral McCoy, NAVSEA 00, our ultimate Boss, is on site tomorrow at Bangor's Delta Pier to preside over an awards ceremony in honour of the recent completion of a submarine availability. A number of members of our Team will be a part of the Ceremony, which is cool. But the intensity of the preparations have been incredible! Every day this week I've been called and e-mailed and asked dozens of questions about who will actually be present, what Shops they represent, how they are going to get out to Bangor. There have even been subtle statements along the lines of making sure they look nice for the ceremony (i.e. go and ensure a bath has been taken :-)).

.....The presentation I wrote was scrutinized in every possible direction. The Admiral is not going to read it at all, he is merely going to recite names and shake hands. But the fact that he MIGHT read the presentation made the Awards Committee angst mightily over every single word I wrote. I think that if they had realized up front that there would be a chance of being read they might have insisted someone else actually write the words. :-) But in the end what I wrote was declared 'acceptable'. :-)

.....As amusing as all this has been, I'll be glad when it is all over tomorrow. Everything else has been put on the back burner so we could prepare for this, so there will be a backlog on which to catch up next week.

.....On Tuesday evening I had a meeting at the Social to formally present the Norseland Site as our new September Crown site. It went over relatively well. Some are excited with the prospects of a new event site in Kitsap County. Some are concerned with the site's shortcomings. I'm in the middle, but moving over to the excited side. The steep hillsides make me nervous, as well as the overall roughness of the site. But the prospects of working with a clean canvas are exciting in themselves. The location is nice and relatively central. The fact that we get to 'test drive' the site with an event OTHER than June Faire is nice. The views of the Olympics are really nice. Besides, it is time to start moving forward. Past time actually. So let's make it work.

.....The thing that the Tuesday meeting did do for me was to remind me about the good things of working with a dynamic team, especially a DRAGON'S LAIRE Team. :-) Good ideas started racking up almost immediately. THL Barnet, in rapid fire succession, gave me three fantastic ideas on how to open up more territory for camping by new possibilities on parking the cars off-site. He also proposed some good ideas on easy ways to clear and grade a couple of areas to give us a great return on camping territory. Others had good ideas on lay-out and traffic patterns and other good ideas. The synergy was a great feeling. Made me wish I had done this in December, even while I was still trying to make the Clallam County Fairgrounds to work.

.....The site walk-through is the day after Candlemas. I'll have to make sure I schedule a follow-up meeting as soon as possible in February and try to build on the new momentum being created.

.....This Saturday is Ursulmas. We have space reserved for Dragon's Laire around the Erics. TBT and I are traveling with Madrun and Tsuruko. Looks like we're not going to be able to get to site until around 9AM on Saturday morning. At least three people though have volunteered to capture our reserved space and defend it as needed until we get there. The weather for the day looks a little wet, but snow is not forecast, so I'm thankful.

.....Next Saturday is Candlemas. I'm actually looking forward to witnessing the competitions. And the new format.

.....Then the declarations of Serjeantry will be presented at Evening Court. I'm still overwhelmed as it looks like almost a dozen people have stated their intentions to submit letters. This thing keeps getting better and better. I hope that it brings to the participants the same excitement it is bringing to TBT and myself.

.....Dame Ellen is working hard at organizing the handbook as well. It is going to look so much better this year than it did last year. At the very least it is going to be much more cohesive, especially with a lot of the lessons we learned from last year that are now incorporated. Dame Ellen has some homework for us to finish this weekend so we'll be able to pass something out at Candlemas as promised.

.....Note to myself, need to send out e-mails for the Serjeantry history paragraphs I'd like to get added to the Manual. Must remember to contact Master Ralg. Her Excellency Melissa as well. She is a little busy right now, but she has still promised me SOMETHING at some point. So I'll keep asking, just have to remember not to push too hard.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It was an interesting day today. Started off with a trip to Sequim. We came to the conclusion in December that the Clallam County Fairgrounds just weren't going to be large enough for September Crown. During that time the Druim Doineann Seneschal, Ivan, asked me about another site he'd been checking out just outside Sequim. This was something of a twist for me as I was in the process of moving the event to a site down here in Kitsap County. But because I was so adamant about keeping Druim Doineann involved in the planning, I said that I would take a look at the site and consider it.

.....The Google Maps of it actually looked promising. It was on a bluff overlooking the Dungeness Spit. The fields looked open and groomed. The roads, while slightly narrow, were direct and manageable. Yet, a couple of things still bothered me. There seemed to be a lot of residential houses around this 'Farm'. The comparison of sizes of fields versus lawns versus fenced areas did not bode well for all the promised 'open' area. So I was a little leery, which is why I didn't say a whole lot about it. But I wanted to give it a shot.

.....TBT decided she wanted to ride up with me. She looked a little tired, but wasn't coughing or hacking, so I relented. She went to sleep before we hit the Hood Canal Bridge. I almost decided to turn around at that moment, but instead kept the fan blowing hot air into the car, and tried to just keep things quiet.

.....When we arrived, this is what we saw of the Farm:

.....The wind was fierce and biting! I walked out the area for camping, parking and event site itself and I could pretty easily see it wasn't going to work. It might fit upwards of 500 campers comfortably, but when you hit the 800 to 1,000 number mark, with all of their elaborate encampments, the farm would be quite squeezed in terms of space. September Crown regularly sees a minimum of 800 people, and at least two years ago, it had over 1,200 people register at gate. Even in this time of economic down turn and the relatively remote location, I think we’d see at least 800 people up there and the site would be hard pressed to camp them all.

.....It was a pretty site though, so I kept walking and that was when I met the owner. He met me with something of a tense "what are you doing on my property" expression, but he was polite. He allowed me to explain why I was taking pictures of the place BEFORE he called the police. :-) When he had heard me out, he didn't seem all that eager to play host to a medieval encampment. And when I looked at how close all his neighbors were in reality, with all of their high end vacation-type homes, I could see that they probably wouldn't enjoy it either.

.....Like I said though, it's a pretty site. I hope that Druim Doineann ends up using it for something at some point. I left a little disappointed, but largely relieved. I had half-expected to find some place that would end up being a better alternative then our Norseland site and having to scramble to put a third new bid in place. Now, I can go ahead and move forward with a clear conscience.

.....The drive back was quiet, but intense. Part of the way the rain pelted the car, but when we went above about 500 feet in elevation, the snow pounded the road hard enough to start sticking. I started getting a little worried at that point. But thankfully it changed to strictly rain by the time we hit the Hood Canal Bridge. I went home as quick as I could and TBT went ahead and fell right asleep. Whatever cold has her in its grip is really knocking her around!

.....The other part of the day I was hit by e-mails of Serjeantry. One person asked me for information on what was needed for the Letter of Intent. Another person e-mailed TBT and myself with their intention to submit a Letter at Candlemas. To date, that means one confirmed and completed letter, one intention to submit, and at least three or more others with serious inquiries. I was a little overwhelmed. Serjeantry is something that was a big thing for me in my own personal decision to put my hat in the ring for Baron. It was something of which I spoke passionate volumes with TBT in why it was a good idea for us to submit. Serjeantry Trials in 2011 was better than I thought it might be, and things just seem to be looking even better this year.

.....Everyone looking at entering this year's class is looking at it with a serious eye. No one seems to be making a frivolous decision. I can see real commitment. It's seriously an exciting thing to see.

.....It was a good afternoon for me and TBT. All the foo from the past year of being Baron and Baroness didn't smell nearly as bad as it did just a few months ago. These are the moments I need to remember the next time Joe Bob tells me I'm an idiot for not doing things his way, or Jane Doe tells me I'm unchivalrous for not taking her side over another. A few more of these moments would even convince me to stay beyond three years.

.....Well, maybe not. It would take a couple dozen more to do that. Might as well be honest about it. Being Baron is not a good long term job for introverts like me.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
arontius: (Default)
.....I had a September Crown meeting scheduled for this evening, but postponed it last night thinking that the roads would still be a mess this evening. In retrospect it was probably still a good decision. The major roads were quite passable, but many side streets were really still messy. Bridle View Place is definitely a mess, and hard to maneuver.

.....Ready to unveil the September Crown site move, just need to get a few more items lined up. Tip-toeing around Druim Doineann as I really want them to stay involved in the process, and make sure they understand that the site move had nothing to do with them as a group. I probably don't need to be as careful as I am on dealing with them. But there have been a couple of mis-communications with them over the past couple of years, so I am being careful.

.....I lucked out yesterday being a 'Snow Day' from work. I woke up with a migraine and spent most of the day asleep. Finally started feeling more human around 3PM. The work phone had gone off at least a dozen times, most of the calls being the Shipyard sending out notifications of the Shipyard being shut down for the day. :-) But the crew located in Norfolk was feeling rather cut off from the world, having no one with whom to speak at the Yard. :-)

.....The remainder of the Team travels next Monday, so the Office will be rather quiet for several months. It'll be nice for a couple of weeks at least, a nice time in which to get caught up with the WARR, the MOA's that are behind schedule, all the miscellaneous reports that have been at the bottom of the 'In Box' for while. But there will come a time, hmmm, maybe sometime in February, where the quiet of the office will start to become somewhat oppressive. Which is funny, really. :-)

.....This weekend should be relatively slow paced, although today seemed rather strange. Like the third Friday of the week. :-) We have a Wyvern meeting set for tomorrow morning. Looks like it will be rather well attended. Sometime in the afternoon we get to see the new Baronial Addition, Jack. :-) At which we'll be able to also pick up the files that Talon saved for us from our obsolete portable hard drive. Which was a lucky save for me as I'll be able to pull my Crier Exchequer Doomsday Report from it and get it submitted to Kingdom before the deadline.

.....The weather does not look all that great for the weekend, but if the roads are looking pretty good on Sunday I'm going to try and make a run up to Sequim. Ivan has a site in mind he'd like to see used for a larger event in the future. I'd like to take a look as the aerials look pretty good. Plus it'll give me an opportunity to speak with him in person and make sure we're both on the same page with the Crown move. Then we'll be all ready for next Tuesday's meeting.

.....The following weekend is Ursulmas. I need to remember to send out a reminder early next week about Baronial space available at Ursulmas. Also need to send out a reminder about Letters of Intent for Serjeantry. Which also reminds me that we need to review the Serjeantry Manual updates within the next week at the latest and get with Ellen to make sure we're all on the same page. As well as the rest of the Serjeantry. They need to at least review what is going to be offered to those presenting Letters.

.....Which further reminds me that I've got to get the new Serjeantry E-List set up pronto.

.....Thankfully, we had a retinue meeting last weekend so we knocked out most of what is going to happen at Candlemas Court on February 4th. Requests for scrolls have already gone out. We'll have to probably give out some Promissary Notes. Our Scribal Community is hard working and brilliant, and I'd sure like to clone them two or three times over. :-) Need to make some more time at some point to push Scribal. Sigh, I need to clone myself, TBT, and all the retinue, past and present.

.....What I'd really like is Freeze Dried Baronial Retinue, a la Bugs Bunny Martians. Just add water, and up pops an instant minion. If only the Real World (tm) was more like Looney Tunes. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.


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