Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meetings, marshals, and more friends.

This weekend my family and some of our household traveled south yet again for our semi-annual pilgrimage to Elfsea in order to attend The King's Roundtable, also called "redtape" by those of us who have, or do hold office within the society. Free, and divested of any medieval trappings, it is, as it always has been, a  chance for officers at all ends of the kingdom to coordinate about the next six months worth of activity.

Trust me, the meetings, thought productive, are every bit as boring to the uninitiated as they probably sounded at first. Frankly, I'm not holding back any information out of some security based sense of loyalty to the SCA. Rather, I just don't think you need to hear the highly repetitive litany of "okay, so lets  go around the room and introduce each other" and then that moving on to "And what do we want to see next reign that we didn't see this one?"...

I love my kingdom, I really do, but we do SO put the "Creative" in Society for Creative Anachronisms just a little too much some times.

From a fictional standpoint, there is one observation I have for anyone who could even possibly be holding a meeting in the foreseeable future.

Bring an agenda!

You think I'm kidding? Just get one or two motor-mouths in there with you, especially ones who have rank and/or precedence over you, and see how much talking you actually get in.

This isn't a slight on anyone... trust me, a meeting is as much corporate culpability as it is productivity. That being said, I did watch more than one sitting officer get walked over by well meaning, but dominate personalities in the room, and it just wasn't a pretty site.

Moving on...

As expected, news of the rapier peerage vote at the BOD filtered into the Greater Officer's meeting, and I have to admit I was a little surprised at how that turned out. In summary, the proposal to create a 4th peerage was voted down heavily. Furthermore, the BOD, in its public statements, heavily suggested that peer-level combatants in rapier be elevated to the rank of Knight. Anything past that is speculation and interpretation.

More to the point, today, our own crown posted the following.

Unto the Populace of Ansteorra!
We acknowledge that our populace has many questions about the ruling on the additional peerage and subsequent rule changes. At this time We are seeking clarification on these items and wish to have a full understanding before addressing this with Our populace. We politely request that any discussion by Our populace on this topic remain civil and courteous.
With appreciation,
Lochlan and Michelle, King and Queen of Ansteorra
Sven and Antigone, Prince and Princess of Ansteorra

So, yeah, the topic is far, far from over.

I'm frankly not looking forward to the future on this topic. Emotions aren't running high, they are overflowing like lava from the top of a volcano, and I am really worried about who is going to get hurt when final decisions are made.

More locally, word from society is that the society minister of Arts and Sciences will be asking for more "quantitative" numbers regarding the arts. I'm not "thrilled" with having to put qualities and numbers to something like A&S, but I can understand the need to have "something" more than "good" and "bad" at the upper levels of leadership.  There are a few guilds locally who are rather resistant to giving any accounting of themselves beyond past-tense "we met" type reports. I'm not inclined to pick any fights, but something like this is a culture shift.. and if nothing else, Mooneschadowe embraces change very slowly.

Somewhat tangential to that, I managed to get final word on my archery authorization, I am now officially the marshal for the group, meaning we can once again start holding practices. It will be good to shoot some more, that is for sure.

On another official note, I got to sit in on the herald's decision meting, which was quick and painless, truth be told. The plenary meeting following lunch was also good, with some enthusiastic conversations being had on several topics. It looks like I might be roped into some projects within the college, but I am not opposed. While I am not an officer, I'm certainly not opposed to helping "the system" when we have common goals.

Finally, I have to say (but without compromising any private details) that the highlight of the weekend was making a lot of new friends, and building on old relationships. These, truly, are he building blocks of the society.

His Lordship Ivo Blackhawk
Minister of Arts and Sciences, and Marshal for Archery
within the Province of Mooneschadowe,
Companion to the Order of the Star of Merrit
and Freelance Consulting Herald
within the Kingdom of Ansteorra
"Long Live the King!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Papers, pens, markers, and lots of e-mails...

Okay, it's been an  interesting week for me, heraldically, with a lot going on in the book herald aspect of things. More, in fact, that I really expected to see happen. 

First of all, I Finally managed to complete the documentation for a Reconstruction job I started the middle of last year. My client had a name and device submitted following Gulf Wars of two years ago, complete with a check, and the whole packet was lost by the local herald, along with all notes. After Much (and I do me "much") conversation online, and with the gracious help of Mistress Adelaide de Beaumont, we were finally able to reconstruct my client's name with satisfactory documentation. Fortunately, we did have record of her check being deposited in the local account, so that much, at least, was already taken care of.

Second. one of my other clients ran into some turbulence when her submitted arms were found to have a conflict with a previous college of arms ruling. (details located here). There was some mad scrambling on my part, but with some online collaboration, I was able to submit a corrected drawing without slowing down the process at all.

As a side note, I want to thank (and call out) Mistress Sofya La Rus from the Great Kingdom of Calontir for pointing me to "the Mistholme" as an improved heraldic reference. The information there was both very helpful when researching my situation, and doubly helpful when talking with my client about how we needed to proceed. This is definitely a page I will keep marked for future reference.

Third, (now this is not in an chronological order, just the way my mind orders all of this), I was going over the latest Letter of Returns and Acceptances, more or less moments after it published, when I noticed that I recognized several names in "accepted" list. So, I got to tell a couple of good friends the good news. None of them were my clients, mind you, but I do enjoy being able to give people good news when I can.

Fourth , I got to do a "on the fly" consult when another friend IM'ed me and asked if she was reading a blazon correctly. The photo she sent me wouldn't load, so I pulled out my heralds kit (in the middle of a cub scout committee meeting), sketched what the blazon looked like, colored it in and then shot her back a photo via text message saying "The photo wouldn't load, but this is this generally what you were asking about?" She was very happy for the confirmation.
Fifth, I got to send four submissions up to Asterisks this week. Now, I didn't personally send them up, not being an officer that was a job for the local senechal (we're between heralds at the moment), but I did put all the papers together and an itemized list for the recipient so there as no confusion.

And finally, I decided to spruce things up a little with my submissions. I included with the packet a letter of introduction to the new Asterisks herald. Nothing too fancy, mind you, just a bit of explanation of who I was and so forth. Since I am a bit of a unique entity in my kingdom, confusion is something worth forestalling where I can.

So, I write the letter, like what I see, and decide "what the hell" and add a line drawing of my arms and crest. After it was printed, I colored it in with crayola marker. The final result was rather striking, I have to say. 

-okay okay... this was the first draft, the one I sent in corrected the typos I missed-
I definitely think I will be doing this type of thing with letters and writing more often in the future.

HL Ivo Blackhawk