Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tentative Class Schedule for Northern Region War Camp

If you are teaching, please let me know privately whether the times work.



Tentative Class Schedule for Northern Region War Camp
9 a.m.
1. SCA 102: Master Liam will teach a general SCA knowledge class that will be both for new folks and "advanced beginners" or anyone else who wants to come.

2. Open.

3. Open.

10 a.m.

1. Picking and Documenting a Medieval Name  
Mistress Ailis

This class is designed for the novice herald or the non-herald.  We
will discuss the SCA's requirements for names, how to identify good
research sources, sources to avoid, common naming patterns, and how to
go about putting together a period name

2. Enameling and cloissone basics.
Lady Frigga

Learn how to make and take home a penny-sized pendant!!  We will be using glass powders, copper wire and a bit o' flame.  Modern methods will be used during the class with discussion on how it would have been done back in the day.  Please wear appropriate clothing and have hair tied back.  ALL AGES are welcome.  If under age ten, adult accompaniment is required.  There is no class fee; however, a small donation of $.50 to $1 will gladly be accepted.

3. An Introduction to Fibers
Lady Finnguala

Everything you do in the SCA involves fiber, from period bowstrings to casting metal to smoking barley over a period sheep-dung fire. Come learn about different kinds of fibers we use in the SCA and what they can do. This will be a hands-on, introductory level class that will cover basics of fiber identification, properties, and care; all levels of interest are welcome!

11 a.m.

1. Introduction to the Submissions and Registration Process
Mistress Ailis

This class will cover the requirements and procedure for submitting
and registering a name and armory through the SCA College of Heralds,
including the paperwork needed, what happens to the paperwork, the
commentary process, and why it takes several months to register items.
2. Bead-making

3. Enameling and cloissone basics (second hour)

1. Kvithuhathar: Skaldic Poetry Made Simple. It's an introduction to writing skaldic poetry using the kvithuhathar form, and a basic lesson on building simple kennings.
Magnus hvalmagi

2. Pewter casting with Mistress Ignatia. (First hour)

3. Bead-making. (Second hour)

4. . SCA 101 walking tour with Master Liam. We'll walk and see things and talk abou tthe SCA. Meet at Gate.

1 p.m.
1. Wire-weaving with Queen Avelina

2. Book-binding (Heather Rose de Gourdon).

3. Pewter Casting (second hour)

4. Heraldic tour of the site with Mistress Ailis (90 minutes). Meet at Gate.
After a brief discussion about period methods of heraldic display, we
will do a walking tour of the site, including a visit to the fighting
and fencing fields, to view how people are display their armory and

2 p.m.

1. Spinning In Period. Mistress Brid

2. Book-binding (second hour)

3. An Introduction to "Period" All-Grain Brewing
Lord Magnus hvalmagi
Discussion of all-grain brewing from a modern perspective, and a redaction of one late-period recipe. We'll do a tasting to compare it to other styles.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

EK Pelican-Laurel Challenge . . .

I hope you are all aware of this --

There are now several additional cool offers.

1. Master Toki says:

So here's my next offer:

In a couple of sagas, characters are killed by having their intestines
pulled out. (I know. Ewww.) One of those characters recites poetry while
this is happening. So...

If total donations in the name of "Bloodbeard the Beowulf Battler" reach
$200, I will disembowel myself (using boffer intestines...don't get your
hopes up) and recite poetry, while trying to thwack people with
Grendel's arm.

If total donations in the name of "Bloodbeard the Beowulf Battler" reach
$300, I will disemboffer-bowel myself and NOT recite poetry, while
trying to thwack people with Grendel's arm. That's right, I'll keep my
mouth shut!

2. Mistress Aofe says:
I am not to be outdone! ;D

More importantly, I am having way too much fun with this.  And I would like to continue to give people incentives to contribute to the cause.  I think Toki's incentives are fantastic, and they can continue to be contributed to after the deadline for new weapons.  Therefore, I've come up with a few of my own.

So... at $200, I get a "braining mace."  A mace with a huge brain to hit people with.

At $225, I will compose my "last words" in verse to recite dramatically as I die on the field.  Probably in three variations.

At $300, I will compose a satire against my enemies to cripple their ability to stand against us.  (For those of you who aren't familiar with Irish culture, a satire was a poetic curse that could do anything from leaving someone with an unpleasant moniker that would follow them to the end of their days... to actually disfiguring or killing a man.)  I have never written such a thing before, because I feared someone would take it seriously.  If there was ever a time when people *wouldn't* take it seriously?  I think it's the boffer tourny.

I have a lot of writing to do, if I'm going to be able to do this. ;)  Please give me a reason to use it.

3. Master Liam says:

For each donation of $10 or more to Mistress Nataliia, I will go to the camp of your choice and sing loudly.

For each donation of $10 or more to Mistress Nataliia, I will issue "insurance," so that if someone sends me to work camp, I will bounce off to the camp of your choice.

More, I am sure, to come  . . .

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How Liam earned yet another quest . . .

OK, now it can be told.

I have not shared all of what happened at War of the Roses, and I am sure my friends will fill it in, but you may remember that earlier this year I made an innocuous comment on "The Book of Face" about trading my prince for a certain princess.

All in good fun, and while TRM Kenric and Avelina are my king and queen, they are old and dear friends and we share the same Pelican/Laurel.

Kenric and Avelina also love court schtick, and this was an opportunity, which included commanding me into the royal presence at Coronation and when I did not come (I had to work), also included taking Baroness Leonete as a ward of the their court.

That spun off into Sharc Pit telling them "You can have her, and we won't take her back unless you give us something we want."

Things spiraled.

I got called into court at War of the Roses.

Their Majesties questioned me, asking if I was "possessed by the devil." I said no. The king then asked me if I was insane.

Note: Yes, my king asked me in open court, "Liam, were you insane at the time?" I assured him I was on my meds. (Actually I said, No, Your Majesty.")

He proceeded to pronounce I was guilty of treason.

My punishment, since I "had lost sight of the true meaning of the crown" was to come to the royal dinner at Pennsic and offered to polish every crown there.

Since I do not know when to shut up (yes, I said it, OK?), I said that I liked Konrad's Beer Quest better. His Majesty was intrigued. (Remember, Prince Edward sent me on a quest to introduce all of Pennsic to each other when he was on the throne.)

I explained that Konrad had instructed me to drink a beer from a brewer from each of the 19 kingdoms.

"So what you are saying, Liam, is that you can get me a beer from every kingdom?"

"Two," sez Her Majesty. "One for each of us."

So I get two quests.

Let me add that the next day, Lady Katherine Ashwode (aka the Pocket Bard) wrote a song about all this which -- with the approval  of the queen of Ansteorra (I haven't shown it to her quite yet)  -- she will herald me into the royal dinner with.

Now you know . . .  the rest of the story.

Friday, June 1, 2012

PLQ Resume Services

PLQ Freelancing
Resume-Writing Services

Background: I have been a professional writer for more than 30 years, and I worked for about a year in an agency that handled services for the New York Department of Labor, dealing with unemployment.

During that time, I wrote dozens of resumes and worked on cover letters. I also acquired a lot of job-search skills.

After budget cuts led me to be laid off at the unemployment office (my life is not like the other lives), I started doing resumes on a freelance basis. I have been doing that for the last two years.

I have been responding to individual queries most of the time and have now decided to codify things in a single place.

What I need: The approach I have developed is unusual, but effective. The resume starts with a series of 12 to 15 bullet points that highlight the skills and abilities you have that qualify you for the jobs you are applying for. The beauty of this is that the list can be adjusted based on the specific job.

So, I will ask for the standard material -- Name, address, contact information, your most current resume, any additions to it, information on education and any related volunteer activities and anything else you think is pertinent.

I will also ask for a list of 12 to 15 skills and abilities you have that relate to the jobs you're seeking. The more the better. They can be specific like "Five years of daily experience using InDesign to lay out newspaper pages," to the less specific, such as "highly developed communication skills, particularly in working from a remote office."

Note to SCA members: I have extensive experience in translating skills from the Society for Creative Anachronism into real-world business skills. I can do this for other hobbies as well.

What you get: I will do one overall resume, then will tailor at least one more to a different specialty area or job. I will do a generic cover letter if you like and will write two more specific ones. I will format a references list if you would like.

Cost: The standard resume package is $150, which I think you will find is a very reasonable rate. Discounts available for SCA members and those who are currently unemployed. Please ask if you have questions.

Contact: Email to Payment can be by Paypal to that address or to: Bill Toscano, 107 Cooper St., Glens Falls, NY, 12801.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My friend Ernie, the hero . . .

Everybody knows Ernie Martinez.

You may not know him, but you know a guy just like him.

That guy has a quick smile and an even quicker wit. You know he likes you,
because he needles you. But when you need him, he’s there in a heartbeat for as
long as you need him.

The other thing you need to know about “my” buddy Ernie is that he’s a certified

He’s got a Silver Star commendation from Vietnam that says that. His Bronze Star
says the same thing, and his Purple Heart backs it up.

Ernie is a lot like many of the Vietnam vets we all know. He doesn’t talk about it
much, but when he does, there’s a lot of pain and bitterness, especially about how
he was treated when he got back.

The treatment of his awards, which were given to him while he was still in
Vietnam, has always been a dull ache, too.

Let him tell you about it.

“Back in 1968 I was awarded the Silver Star . . . but I was never officially
presented with the award, it was tossed over my shoulder as we were preparing
to move out on a mission. I had to fly to division HQ and prove that I'd earned a
Purple Heart for being wounded in combat even though I'd spent three months in the hospital recovering from the wounds I received in the engagement for which I'd been given my Silver Star. I received my Bronze Star in the back of a jeep as I was leaving my base camp to head to Saigon as I was leaving Vietnam to come home.”

Ernie came back, married a woman he loved and had a full life and career. He
makes friends easily and inspires intense loyalty.

Eighteen years ago, that loyalty was at play when a group of folks he’d met and
bonded with through an Internet site – back in the early days before Facebook
make such things easy – visited his house in Danbury, Conn., for a picnic and put
together their own ceremony for him.

And in the SCA
That was about the time I started to get to know him, through the Society for
Creative Anachronism, an international group of folks whose idea of a good time
is to spend weekends dressing up in Medieval clothes and taking part in medieval

If you’re in the SCA, you known Baron Ernst. If you don’t know him, you know
someone just like him

Ernst is one of those guys who make things go. He doesn’t put on armor and fight.
He’s not a cook or an artisan, but when the king needs someone to speak for him,
it’s Ernst’s voice we hear. When people need motivating, he’s there with a verbal
push. When things simply need doing, he does them.

Ernie’s a man still in love with his “bride” decades after the fact and the kind of
guy you have to love, even if he’s a Yankee fan.

Thinking about Ernie
Ernie comes into my mind a lot, especially around Memorial Day and Veterans

He’ll certainly be in my mind on Memorial Day afternoon, but this time for a
really special, positive, reason.

At 2 p.m. this Memorial Day, at the Purple Heart Hall of Honor near West Point,
N.Y., my friend Ernie will – more than 40 years later – be officially awarded the
medals he earned defending our country.

In the commendation for his Silver Star – the third-highest award for valor in
combat – the Army tells the story of what Ernie did on the morning of Feb. 10,
1968, during the Tet Offensive:

“With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Specialist Martinez braved intense mortar, rocket and small arms fire to run 200 meters to the base camp’s aid station, secure a medical kit and run to the scene of the heaviest fighting. There he moved from bunker to bunker, treating the most serious wounds of his injured comrades. Although blown off his feet and wounded by the blast of an exploding enemy rocket, Specialist Martinez continued to administer aid to the casualties until ordered to seek attention for his own wounds an hour and a half later.

“Specialist Five Martinez’s extraordinary heroism in close combat against a Viet Cong force is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division and the United States Army.”

Monday, he will officially receive that medal in a formal ceremony.

You know Ernie Martinez, and you know just how much this means to him.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My first letter to the Board

The Board wanted commentary, and I sent some.

I will likely follow up.

I share here:

Dear Board Members;

I am deeply disappointed in the proposed change regarding same-gender consorts in Crown, and frankly I do not understand it.

I just do not understand why it is difficult for you to do the right thing and remove prejudice from Society law.

In the past, the Board has not been afraid to take the difficult stands, regardless of public opinion or perception. Why is that not the case here?

I feel you are abdicating your responsibility and putting undue pressure on Crowns, who already have the ability to keep anyone out of the lists anyway.

I also feel you are giving into perceived pressure. I firmly believe the "Superduke Argument" is a straw man.

Have you actually asked Lucan, Andreas, Michael of Bedford, Uther, Jade or any of the others whether they would actually do that? I have, and they won't.

People join and leave the SCA all the time, by the way. This is not going to cost you members, and for some of us, it will strengthen our belief in the Society.

By putting this law out for comment, you are simply delaying the opportunity for people to fight for the ones who really inspire them, and that's not fair.

I would submit that there are two roads here -- leave prejudicial language in the laws of a Society that is supposed to be focused on chivalry or "remove the four words."

Thank you.

Liam St. Liam
East Kingdom
Not using titles, because they don't matter here

Remove the four words!

The SCA Board of Directors has come up with a proposal for addressing the issue of same-gender consorts in Crown lists.

The proposal would change this:

Each competitor in a Royal Lists must be fighting for a consort of the opposite gender.


"Each competitor in a Royal Lists must be fighting for a consort of the opposite gender.  Crowns may permit entry into the Royal Lists by same-gender couples."

My yardstick for evaluation is" "Does this give those of us who support 'Inspirational Equality' what we want?"

My answer is: "No."

It certainly delays equality and honestly doesn't make sense.

As far as I know every set of royals has the ability to control its own lists already and can exclude as they well. (Correct me if I am wrong, but that's my understanding. I know it is the case in the East.).

What sense does it make to have a law then say, "But exceptions can be made?"

To me, much of the point of this is having the SCA say it is not prejudiced against people who are partners with people of the same sex.

This does not do it.

I see it as a cop-out, a way to shift responsibility.

I am going to find it very, very hard to support anything other than striking the words, "of the opposite gender."

Remove The Four Words!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Minor correction

I was mistaken when I said Prince Lucian and his lady would reign at Pennsic.

Calontir is changing Crown dates. This will be a four-month reign, and there will be a Crown Tournament, in May.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New prince and princess of Ansteorra

Hrafn Olafsson and  Elizabeta di Valore della Rosawill reign as Ansteorra's king and queen at Pennsic for the second time in four years as a result of today's crown tournament.
The prince defeated Iarrl Owen ap Trahaerne in the finals, after besting Jarl Jean Paul de Sens to advance. Jean Paul eliminated Duke Ulstead the Unsteady in the other semifinal.

Calontir, like the Midrealm and the East, will have a first-time king.

(On a personal note, squee!!!!)

Sir Marius Lucian Fidelis, fighting for Mistress Conna Ingen Ui Chearbhaill defeated Duke Sir Dongal Erikson, fighting for Her Ladyship Catalina de Azazuri, in the final of Calontir crown.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

From another angle

As I thought about the inter-kingdom differences in people's views of Pennsic, I also realized there were differences regardless of kingdoms.

Several of my friends have already pointed out that the switching of alliances doesn't impact them at all. These are folks who come strictly to run their camps or teach or shop or display their A&S work. They are not married to -- or family of -- fighters, and the battles that many of us care so much about, don't mean anything to them.

I ma also unsure what impact the change have for folks outside the Midrealm and the East. After all, Atlantia and Aethelmearc have fought together and against each other before. So have, I assume, all of the other kingdoms. It seems to me there may have even been a year Calontir fought alongside the East.

This change and the reactions to it are reminding me that we all see the SCA through different prisms. I have talked about this before.

I think a lot of your experience in the SCA stems from where you break in and who you know when you start. I also find that I tend to look at people as I knew them when I came in. Lucan, say, was a knight and a king when I came in. Prince Kenric, on the other hand, was a newbie with me, so even though he will be king at Pennsic, I tend to look at him as a peer (with a small "p"). I hold certain views based on the views of people I respected when I broke in and of the people in the places where I live.

I am always fascinated in analyzing the SCA experience.

More Pennsic thoughts

One of the aspects of the discussion about the new alliances at Pennsic is that it's an interesting example of inter-kingdom anthropology.

For most of the folks in my immediate and extended circles, Pennsic is central to our SCA experience. Obviously, this is more true for some than others, but for the most part, it's a bug deal.

The reason is fairly obvious. I have always lived in areas that are no more than, say, 10 hours from Pennsic, and the folks I know well tend to be from the East, Aethelmearc, Ealdormere and Atlantia, all of which tend to lie within that circle or perhaps an hour more. These are the folks I know, and like me, Pennsic tends to be a yearly, or almost yearly ritual.

Obviously, the closer to Cooper's Lake you live, the more likely it is you'll be able to go. (Unless there are other issues). If I think about places that are farther away, but are still well-represented, I can think of pretty solid groups from Portland, Maine, Boston, Montreal and Ottawa, Raleigh, NC, and Burlington, Vt. It's hard to think of places beyond those -- which are all under 12 hours from Pennsic -- that are well-represented.

There are a couple of others that are farther away, such as Minneapolis, 14 hours, and parts of Texas, such as Austin, 23 hours, but those tend to be smaller groups. There are always dedicated travelers from Caid and the West, as well as Australia.

As I look at those who regularly attend, I also examine why folks from farther away, say outside six or eight hours are there. Some of this applies for those within an easy drive, too. (Only for Pennsic is six to eight hours and "easy" drive).

Obviously you have the serious fighters, who really live for a week of solid tournaments and battles. You also tend to see people who are very active on the kingdom and Society levels, especially officers. Obviously, you see merchants in that mix as well. One thing I have seen is that people who are consistently involved with royal activities -- either having been on the throne or worked multiple royal households -- are often drawn in from farther away. That is certainly the case for me and my wife. Sometimes, it's a household or local group pull. "Everyone else" is going.

The farther away, the less of an impact. Certainly for the "average" Scadian outside the six- to eight-hour window, there's less chance of coming, and the farther west you get -- note that most of the places I mentioned do not involve crossing the Mississippi Rover -- the less important Pennsic becomes. True also for Drachenwald.

I find I often forget that other people's SCA experiences are not at all structured like mine, and for a vast part of the Society, Pennsic doesn't matter at all.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thoughts about the new Pennsic

Here are some immediate reactions to the new alliances at Pennsic.

First of all, it's a creative, bold idea, and I think it will revitalize the war. Things had gotten into a rut.

Personally, I think it's great that we get to ally with the Midrealm, plan with them, fight with them and drink with them. For two long, fighters in the East have been told to dislike the Midrealm and beat Midrealmers at Pennsic. This will bind the kingdoms better.

I do not fear losing friendships with Atlantia and Aethelmearc, which were once part of the East. Those relationships are solid.

In terms of fighting and war points -- assuming those are in the plan -- it's all going to come down to additional allies. Ealdormere and Ansteorra will be among the keys. They tend to bring good, solid armies. In the past, Calontir has allied with Ansteorra by treaty. How about if Bloodguard is fighting behind the Calon Shield Wall? Norhshield will also carry some importance, and it will be interesting to see where the other kingdoms go.

In fencing, I feel even more strong that Ansteorra can change the tide. I hope they do fencing as they have been -- two mass battles and a champions' battle.

Ok, now to think some more.

What do you think?

This changes everything

I had decided to start blogging here again.

there is a lot going in the SCA, and I am working on publicity for Team USA for Battle of the Nations (more to come).

So I am thinking about what to post, then it falls in my lap.

Here's how I put it for the Pennsic Independent, which asked me to get something together.

Pennsic XLI is going to be different from any Pennsic before it.

For the first time, the traditional opponents, the East Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom, will be fighting as allies, against Aethelmearc, in whose lands Pennsic lies, and Atlantia.

The alliances were announced at courts in the four kingdoms' on Saturday, Jan. 7.
At East Kingdom Twelfth Night in the Barony of Carillion, Prince Kenric announced the alliance, as did Prince Savaric at the Midrealm's 12th Night in the Barony of Northwoods. Both men will be sitting the throne for the first time.
Prince  Bryan and Princess Brianna of Atlantia made their announcement the at Winter Ball in their Barony of Bright Hills.  Andreas Morgan, prince of Aethelmearc, made his announcement at 12th Night in the Shire of Sylvan Glen. 

He, like the prince and princess of the Midrealm and the East, will be on the throne for the first time. Prince Bryan has reigned before.

Pennsic has traditionally, for the last four decades, been a war between the East and the Middle with the other kingdoms allying on either sides. Some kingdoms do have treaties or agreements on who they will fight alongside at Pennsic. The announcements of the sides is a major part of Opening Ceremonies, even though most of the decisions have been agreed upon by them.

Details of the war points and battles have not yet been announced. Additional alliances have not been announced either.

Pennsic will take place from July 27 to August 12, 2012, at Cooper's Lake Campground in Pennsylvania.

Analysis to come.