Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Well, Master Robert and I tried our hands at Go this evening during a Mooneschadowe's dance meeting. The rules are, more or less simple, but the game is very, very complicated when you get down to it. Robert is no rookie at this, and I, myself, have never played it before. So this was simply a mater of learning from defeat, and I never really thought it would be anything else.

I do look forward to playing in the future, and on that note, I am interested in seeing who else in the north might be interested in playing a game or two with me when I am in there part of the kingdom.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Nordsteorra Herald
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

"Non unus step tergum"

Monday, July 27, 2009


That's how many miles I put on my car today.

71 of that was getting from my home to my office, and another 71 can reasonably be written off as "I would have driven that far anyway". But that still leave 124 miles that I detoured so that I could make it to Northkeep's populace and baronial candidate polling tonight.

I'm posting this for two reasons. The first is that some people asked me over the past few days what I plan on putting into the office of Nordsteorra Herald.

Well, 124 extra miles a month is a good tangible example of what I think this office should get out of me. And that isn't just me driving to the group. Its me being able to spend time with them, talk with my deputies and friends, and offer encouragement and parse for people who have done well for me.

I wish I could have a presence in Eldern, or Bonwick, or Adlersruhe. But the fact of the mater is that I can't, much to my dismay. For them, I will have to make sure that they get as much logistical support as I can muster, and I need to make sure to keep a good line of communication with their heralds, and their other officers. Heraldry doesn't take place in a vacuum.

But that doesn't mean that I owe the groups I already travel to one second less of my time now that I am a regional officer. Frankly, I feel that my travels have helped make me what I am, bothy as a person and a herald.

So, am I just driving 124 miles a month?
You could look at iot that way.

I choose to took at it as an investment. And let me tell you, so far I've gotten my money's worth out of it.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Nordsteorra Herald
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

"Non unus step tergum"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A minor commentary on some parts of my life.

"non unus step tergum"

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Nordsteorra Herald
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Little update

I'll try and keep this brief. I really don't want to distract from my SCA topics, but at the same time, I have had a lot of people ask about this. As most of you know I underwent surgery six months ago for hemolitic anemia. The hope was that removing my spleen would alleviate the problem.

Well, six months out, and it seems that that is not what happened. I am jaundice again, though this time at a greatly reduced rate. The most telling feature if the whites of my eyes, which are yellow on the outside edges and moving in towards the iris. However, let me point something out, before my surgery, I it would take me less than three weeks to get this bad, and according to my last doctor's visit (three weeks ago) my hemoglobin (the red stuff that carried oxygen to my body from my longs) is still much, much higher than before the surgery.

It looks like my body will probably always be at war with itself. My immune system is still destroying Red blood cells, which is more or less what it was before before. HOWEVER... it is now doing it without a spleen. Practically speaking, we just hamstrung its ability to accidentally kill me. Before, the spleen was doing between 85% and 95% of the blood destruction. Without the prednisone, I would have probably suffocated on dry ground in less than six months. Now, whatever my body is doing, its doing it with a fraction of the ability it had before.

Now, the hematologist is thinking that my body may reach, or may already have reached some point of equilibrium where it can match the rate of red blood cell destruction with its own increased rate of hemoglobin production. If that turns out the be the case, I may spend the rest of my life with a slightly yellow ting to go with my scar and the bumps on my head (if you don't know what the bumps are all about, just ask). But let me tell you, even now, I feel ready to take on the word, so this is not the life altering, just-been-hit-with-a-baseball-bat type affair that it was before.

We don't know all the details yet, but the simple fact that I am not buttercup yellow from head to foot, and drop-dead-tired all the time (I've been off the medication for over 5 months now) tells me that even if this is something that never goes away, we are not talking about the life threatening cluster$&@! that it was before. (pardon my language, but that's how I really feel about a lot of that mess right now).

I know a lot of people saw me at 30th year, and saw that I wasn't doing so good. Let me alleviate a lot of fears now. First of all, I wasn't 100% to begin with, I'm about a third of the way to loosing the 97 pounds that the steroid hung on me while I was taking it, so that wasn't the best of circumstances. Second, as everyone who was there knows, it was bloody hot. I've never been particularly at home in the heat, but with everything else, medical, social, logistical and whatnot, the heat was the extra nail in the coffin. Simply put, 30th was rather scary for me, and very punishing. I didn't know how much of my pain and fatigue were due to a deteriorating situation and how much was due to me not being ready for the heat. with two weeks recovery time, I now now that it was more heat than anything else.

In any event, I am more or less healthy, and ready to make a hell of a splash as the Nordsteorra herald.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Nordsteorra Herald
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Long two weeks (Part 2)

Well, as most of you probably know already, I have been eying the Northern Regional Herald's position for close to a year now, if not longer. As a herald, I felt like it was one of the best venues available to me to help heraldry in the north. When The Nordsteorra office came open for application a few months ago, it didn't take long for me to take stock of my situation and decide to put in my application.

To be specific, I was ultimately one of two people who applied, though the other person is a dear friend.

As an aside; I will freely admit that one of the things that we both discussed was writing each other a recommendation letter. Though this sounds chivalrous, the real goal, at least on my part, would have been to totally mess with the Star Principal Herald's head. Heralds are like that at times.

Well, thirtieth was my interview, which was very much a low impact thing. I can't be sure, but I think some of the questions were meant as feelers so that Alden could decide what my agenda was. I was honest, and respectful, to be sure. But I didn't candy coat anything. I was very frank about wanting to see more voice heraldry in the north, including list and site heraldry as formal classes. But there was also a healthy bit of acknowledgment of the fact that I am still new to a lot of the administrative side of this, and that I would be leaning hard on those who came before me.

So, in the end, on the Friday before Redtape, I got the following e-mail.



First let me thank you both for submitting applications for Nordsteorra Herald.  Both of you bring excellent qualities and capabilities to the table, and next to appointing my own successor, this was probably the most evenly matched pair of candidates I've had to choose between for an office.  Thank you for that!  HL Emma, Incoming Star and I have discussed it, and we agree that at this time Lord Ivo is our choice to step into the office of Nordsteorra. 


Appointed, or not, I am very confident after talking to you both that you each have a desire to increase the art, service, and visibility of heraldry in our kingdom and I am sure that you will do just that.  I have a feeling, and I sincerely hope I'm right, that I will continue to see your names moving around the different CoH offices in years to come!


Thank you both again very much!


In service,

Alden, Outgoing Star


So, in short, I got the job.

And that was just before I left for Redtape.

Fortunately, Redtape was not the inondation that I was afraid it would be. A lot of good people were there, and a lot of people were glad to offer help to me when asked. As always, the College is full of people who want to help out, and are eager to watch out for one of their own. The Plenary meeting was interesting, and informative. It was fairly clear from the word go that HL Emma, the new Star Principal herald, has a specific agenda, and from what I have seen of the college, this is not a bad thing in the least. Like I have said from the beginning, Agenda just mean you have objectives going into a situation, regardless of what negative innuendo the word might have.

Unfortunately, Redtape was not long enough after 30th year, and I was still feeling a lot of the effects of the heat and the effort that went into 30th, so my energy levels were low at best, and by Nine PM, it hit rock bottom and crashed like a rock.

I woke up maybe an hour or so later, and made use of our host's laptop to check my e-mail account. That was when I first saw the Officer's e-mail account. Ansteorra is using a G-mail based system, so I'm familiar with the overall layout. The good thing is that the G-Mail system they use is simplified, fewer bells and whistles, and not a lot of fluff to distract from the job at hand. Overall, i like it.

So, with that, I conclude what was a very long two weeks worth of time.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Nordsteorra Herald
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Long two weeks (part 1)

Well, when I see a movie with a character running around all over the place screaming “its all too much”, I used to roll my eyes and say “God help me, would she just get a grip.” Well now I am in a position to feel a little... okay a lot more sympathy for the person in question.
The past three weeks have been rough on me. Rough in a good way, but still, rough is rough, and these were the embodiment of that definition.
Okay... where do I start? Oh, yet, let me highlight the project I have been working on. Right around the beginning of this month I was contacted and invited to interview the baronial candidates for the barony of Northkeep. The stated intent was to help make opinions and personalities more widely known across the barony so that everyone would be that much more informed during the polling.
I really don't want to go into too many detail, but if anyone is interested, the end results are posted here at my podcast website. I will point out that interviews are far, far trickier than I ever guessed they would be, and are much, much to actually conduct that a regular recorded show in my home “studio”. All of the candidates were wonderful to work with, and were phenomenal people to speak with on issues such as leadership, nobility and history. It was an honor and a pleasure to work on the project, and an absolutely amazing experience all together.
Oh, yeah.... that little event called “Ansteorra's xXx year celebration”.
As most of you will probably remember, I volunteered to coordinate list heraldry at the event back in August of last year. To be blunt about it, things could have gone smoother for me. Communication between list and site heraldry was almost non-existent meaning that my getting word out that I even needed heralds was an uphill fight against a mountain of circumstances.
I wasn't exactly at my best either; between the heat (104 was the coolest day I was there) and the fact that I was only six mouths out after surgery, didn't exactly bring out the best in me.
But, this isn't to say that the effort floundered. Quite to the contrary, there was something of a conspiracy between the tournament organizers, the fighters (light and heavy) and God himself that let me and my heralds actually manage to cover all of our bases. This is an e-mail I sent to the herald's list detailing my thanks to everyone.
Frankly, I knew I was in over my head when I got out of the [van]
Thursday night and was physically knocked back into my van by the
triple-digit heat and high humidity. I wasn't feeling 100% anyway, and
when I got to site that day, I was left wondering if 100% would have
been enough.

To be fair, the first people I need to thank are organizers of each
and every tournament. Without fail, these men worked with me so that I
had some handle on where my limited resources had to be, and where
they were not needed. When you have three tournaments going at the
same time, simply being told in advance that one of them doesn't need
heralds is a God send.

Then, I need to thank His Lordship Alden. Not only did Alden task me
with organizing the list heralds, but he was ready to help when I came
to him Friday afternoon on the verge of tears, overwhelmed by the
situation I already had, and terrified of what I was going to be
facing on Saturday when the rest of the expected attendees showed up.
I don't think that even Alden fully appreciates how dramatically
helpful his advice, calm composure, and well-though-out answers were
to me.

Alden... If you ever need a list herald, just ask. I owe you one.

Next.. Adena and her staff of water barrers.
Let me be clear about this. The temperature wasn't just triple digits,
it was dangerously high triple digits at times. I considered it my
personal duty to take care of everyone and anyone working for me.
Towards that end, when I pointed at one of my heralds and said “They
need water.” Thirty seconds later—if that-- it was in their hands. To
be frank, without the water barrers, Heraldry wouldn't have.

And now... the people who volunteered to work their tails off at my request.

HL Adalia.
Adalia was practiced at this when I first started butchering names a
number of years ago. By all accounts, I should have been taking orders
from her this weekend.

However, when I was in a pinch, it was Adalia who stepped in, took the
lion's share of weight off of my shoulders and said “Ivo, got get a
drink and come back in an hour.” And I could walk away knowing that
now mater what type, or how big the situation was, she could handle
it. But at the same time, she backed my calls, helped me where she
could, and didn't add conflict to chaos (something that is very easy
to do when people are hot and tired). A welcome addition to my team on
any day. Thanks!

Diana (and forgive me if I'm misspelling that name).
For anyone who noticed the rail-thin young woman who was marshaling
and heralding alternately during the rapier fighting on Saturday, take
note. Inside that featherweight frame is a lot of potential, and a lot
of perfectly good skill. While long time heralds like Adalia and
Myself can put on a theatrical flare to what we do, there is something
to be said for the rookie who is willing to stand up and just call the
list because there aren't enough people already heralding. It takes
guts to try, and it takes character to keep going after the inevitable
butchering of names. This young lady has both, and I look forward to
seeing her again, no mater what skills she pursues in the SCA.

When someone walks up to you and says they have never done this
before, there are three ways of looking at the situation. The optimist
says “Hooray, Blank slate!”. The Pessimist goes “God help me, I'll
have to teach this one everything.” And the pragmatist goes “Well,
lets see what he's got.” Depending on how cooked I was, I think I
caught myself (shamefully) saying all three of these things to myself
as I walked m'lord Arden through the basics of List heraldry during
the too-short gaps between rapier tournaments. I felt horrible that I
couldn't sit down and give him a proper walk-through talk, and then
walk him through the tournament process in something resembling a
calm environment. Instead, I was forced to take my typical ten minute
“on-the-job” training talk, and cram it down to about three minutes.
But guess what? Three rounds later, I saw Arden managing his own list
field, asking the right questions, making sure to drink water, and
staying in the shade, while the whole time conveying a calm expression
of professionalism. While I take full credit for teaching him he raw
information, it takes character to apply it, and it takes dedication
to stay with it as long as he did. Based on what I saw at 30th, I am
proud to call this man a fellow herald, and would be greatly honored
to call a list with him again some time in the future.

Another hard-working colleague from the north showed up on site in the
form of Lady Castellana. There is just something to be said for a
person who can project over a bunch of chatting fighters, and cry
lists for the better part of a tournament, no mater the heat. When I
was in a pinch, she was there, helping to shoulder the weight of the
job. For heralds, there are times where the best option available is
to just jump in to the fray, and hope you can outlast the situation.
Castellana was willing, and able, to do that on more than a few

One unfortunate sole I want to commend was m'lord Alexander; a teen
who was willing to herald, and wound up following me around site for
an hour while I tracked down help between tournaments. No sooner as I
started towards the rapier field than he was called away by more
pressing issues (I think his mother out-rank's me). But still, he
stuck to my side for the better part of an hour without complaint. And
that's worth noting.
Alex, sorry it didn't work out for you, but trust me, you don't have
to wait long in order cry a list at most SCA events. If you still want
to learn list heraldry, see if a local can give you the pointers you
might need. And then head to any event with a tournament, most of them
will be glad for the help.

Now, for the life of me, I must hold my head in shame for this next
part. Several people stepped up and helped to cry Crown tournament on
Sunday. Castellana being just one of them. Four others are men who's
names are lost to me, and for that I am truly sorry because they
deserve credit for their work. The bulk of Crown tournament was
characterized by list heralding over or through large crowds, in
oppressive heat with little to no shade close to the field. Most of us
were going on too little sleep at that point, and all of us got more
sun that we really needed.

I also want to make mention of the Landed Baron, (and Lion of
Ansteorra), who came forward and politely requested the honor of
crying the final rounds of Crown Tournament. I was told by many that
you are a master in this trade, and your performance did not
disappoint. Thank you for adding your skills to that day, and thank
you for adding another level to the dream with your cries. I look
forward to the chance to work with you again, should fortune grant me
that opportunity.

I not only think, but I am certain that there are names that were
probably cooked out of my skull by Sunday afternoon. If anyone knows
of these names, or is perhaps one of them, don't hesitate to say so.
You've earned that much.

List heraldry at 30th was, frankly, a lot of work, with not a lot of
people. Yet time and time again, people stepped up to the plate and
did their best. And often times, their best turned out to be well
above the minimum needed to get the job done. Each and every one of
these people brought the heart of a lion to their work. They stuck it
out, and saw things through. These are the types of people that The
Dream is built both on and for. To all of them, I want to extend a
heartfelt thanks for contributing so much to 30th year. The kingdom is a better place for your efforts.Thirtith year could have gone smoother, but it did come out on top, at least as far as list heralding went. It was an honor do serve the crown, and it was an blast managing the list heralding for the event, including the Crown Tournament on Sunday. However, crown did take more out of me than most events. Between the extremely high heat (like I said, 104 was the coolest high of the three day stretch) I got home on Sunday afternoon was was totally and completely burned out. And as busy as the week was (even with Monday off of work to recover) I was totally, and completely burned out. The week as pretty hectic on me, mostly work stuff. Nothing really unusual, just a lot more of the usual stuff than I was expecting.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Protege to Master Robert Fitzmorgan
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"