Westward ho!

The migration has begun! Our Kingdom is trickling west to California, and our little traveling party is off as well. Tonight we’ll stop for a few hours before we finish the trip tomorrow morning.

Nerves have not quite set in, but I don’t think it will take long for them to hit. Strangers. Hundreds and hundreds of strangers. Lots of people I don’t know, and no doubt my inherent RBF will not make it easier to fit in. I wonder if I should practice AFF (active friendly face).

The RBF kinda worries me a bit. I mean, I have this paranoia that everyone in the other kingdom will assume that I’m just a superbitch because I don’t have that friendly expression. So making friends is going to be tough.

Will I actually make many friends anyway though? I’m media-social but not socially-social. Face-to-face interaction is still a mystery. I try to smile at people in passing, but most of the time the people glare back. Maybe they all have RBF too…..

I have to find a way past this social anxiety. If not, I’ll be a human barnacle to my friends, and that’s really no way to enjoy an event.

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War paint

More war prep was done today, and I’m starting to get pretty excited about it.

First off, my husband and I taped and painted our dancing masks with Viking runes for warrior. That was a fun and interesting adventure (in which we learned that one of the smallest pieces of the airbrush is one of the most crucial in dispensing the paint), and it got me a little more revved up for the event. I did some fabric painting as well, adding symbols to represent both Kingdom and Barony on two of our tunics:

Are they perfect? No, but what is? I still think they look pretty snazzy considering the time constraints I’ve had (and the fact that I mostly eyeballed almost every measurement on these).

I feel much better about the war now that things are falling into place. We’re getting to the point where we can start packing early, which is leaps and bounds better than we usually do. I mean, most trips we take I end up packing for the morning of. We’re not leaving for another three days and I already plan on stuffing my bag as soon as we get home from visiting with friends.
I am still a little nervous, but that’s the socially-awkward introvert in me. There will be lots and lots of people there, 90+% of whom I won’t know. It’ll be a challenge for sure, but at least for now I have the prep work and my real job to distract me from that.

All that’s left is to get my creaky old joints to man up and quit whining. The past few days have had me in varying degrees of pain, which is not going to be conducive to a fun fake war experience. I’m hoping that the kinks work themselves out soon because I want to be able to take the field in top form (for me, that is).
Three days until we’re officially on the road to California!

Just in the neck of time

Almost (mostly) done. Just a few necklines to finish off, and the new tunics for the war in California will be finished. With, oh, 4 or 5 days to spare.

I might even get time to add some trim to another tunic or two.

A bonus is the extra time to add “war paint” to our fencing masks. Thanks to an airbrush, some paints, and a modicum of artistic talent (yeah, right), we can make ourselves more menacing on the field–or something. More visible targets? Yeah. Okay. There’s that. But still…I get to paint stuff.

There’s still a ton to get done social media-wise, but I think I can manage to wrap that up in the morning. Or something. I don’t even know what to do with that at this point. I may be in over my head, but I think once I get a rhythm down it will jive okay.

On the good-news front, I have a potential beta reader for when I have Book 1’s revisions done–thanks to Twitter. (See what I did there? Social media segue.) You see, just about every day I tweet a few lines from the WIP with various hashtags. These hashtags are kinda like weekly “looky what I can do” things, where authors get to show of nuggets of brilliance in the hopes of…well, I don’t know exactly what the point is, beyond gaining a few followers and maybe some readers when the book is finished. I think part of the point is the inherent narcissism that seems to be rampant among writers. “See how witty I am? Read my next book to see what I can really do when not under a 140-character limit!”

Speaking of narcissistic writers, I had quite the ego boost yesterday when my blog views shot up (relatively speaking) after that nonsensical post about not having anything to post. Who would’a thought? My deep, existential stuff often goes unnoticed, but write a few paragraphs of drivel and it gets devoured. Go fig.

I had something else I was going to say, something of moderate importance…but I got distracted by my own thoughts and whatever it was is now unimportant.

T-minus 9 days

Nine days and counting until my first out-of-state war. Nine days to finish three tunics (one of the four is finally complete, one only needs the rest of the trim sewn down, one is cut but not pinned/sewn, and one hasn’t even been cut yet). I have my hands full, that’s for sure.

Thankfully, I have great friends to help out and make the time pass better. One of my friends has offered use of her home’s space to do my cutting and whatnot, as well as offering her company, both of which I am grateful for. I discovered last week that I tend to operate more efficiently (still slowly, but more efficiently) when I have someone to talk to, gossip with, whatever, than when I’m in my own workspace. I think part of it is that I get distracted by things like my phone, the Internet, and other projects that are piling up as well. None of that is really conducive to finishing these tunics.

My hope is to get the already-cut tunic finished and the not-yet-been-cut one cut and maybe pinned today. That would be a tremendous weight off my shoulders as far as the deadline to finish these. Hell, I might be able to get some trim on a couple more tunics instead of just the one.

The only good thing about this deadline is that it’s taking my mind off the reason for the deadline: the war itself. I haven’t done many rapier melees, and the ones I’ve done have mostly been practice. Okay, almost all been practice. I’ve been told it’s easier when you’re in the thick of it, but that doesn’t do much to calm my nerves about it. So far, I tend to be too slow and clunky on the field, especially compared to my more experienced comrades. Even my husband is much better on the battlefield, but I sometimes wonder if that’s due to his military experience. Hell, most of them have military experience. They know how to follow orders, how to make heat-of-the-moment decisions, all that stuff. Orders process immediately in their mind, whereas I have to think about okay, what was said? Oh yeah, this. So I need to do this. By which point in time the order for “this” has passed and they’re on to another order.

Now I’ve gotten myself all worked up over it again. Geez. I guess I should put down the laptop and get my fabric and thread together. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Heralding in change

As I delve deeper into my “medieval” life, I have the urge to design some kind of heraldic crest for myself. Why? Partly because I’d like to play around with design, partly because I just want a cool symbol for me.

My persona is named after a valkyrie that is associated with swans, which may not sound very imposing, but swans can kick ass when they want to. So I searched The Google for Viking-esque images of swans. I found a cool one that I’d like to use, but I thought I would still *try* to come up with something on my own. I’m terrible at actual Viking/Celtic knotwork without copying, but I can make stylized stuff that’s somewhat decent. So these are what I’ve come up with so far:

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The top one is the copy design, with a sword behind it (because rapiers). The bottom one is my own design. I like my own design, but it’s not really a “Viking” style, and it doesn’t lend well to adding a sword or other item to it. I mean, I kind of can, but I’m not sure on it…Kinda dig it, kinda don’t. Still sketching on that one. What do you think?

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It looks better now that I’ve gotten the swords on there, I guess. So the next question is, do I want to even go for a heraldic crest at this point? I’ve only been playing about five or six months…is it too early for a crest? My “persona” might not be fully formed yet. I dig the idea of the swan because it’s both graceful and a bit aggressive. Though I’m not the most graceful person, I can, in rapier at least, be more than a bit aggressive. But is that who I want to “be”? I don’t know, but I think I might’ve kinda maybe sorta talked myself into it with this post.

What does everyone think? The not-quite-Viking-esque swan with swords or the copycatted-Google-image with a sword? I am digging the not-quite-Viking one more and more as I look at it, but I’m asking what you think….

En Garde

En Garde

Okay, I’m going to flat-out say it: I fucking love swords.

I wasn’t too sure about longswords at first; the first time I practiced with one, it was unwieldy and awkward, and I couldn’t get the forms right. I was so frustrated I burst into tears because of all the new input that just wouldn’t click. This elbow here, that arm there, and never mind that it feels weird or is a little painful. I was sure I’d never enjoy that form of swordfighting. Last weekend’s tournament proved me wrong.

Yeah, I had only picked up a longsword for the first time a week before the tournament. Yeah, my form sucked. But in two best-two-out-of-three rounds I managed to get one “kill” and one “double kill.” Granted, those were with different fighters and were both after I had already lost two rounds so they really didn’t count for the purposes of the tournament, but they counted to me. I was up against fighters who had years and years of practice, so just being able to hit them at all is, at least in my opinion, quite the accomplishment.

I did relatively well in the rapier tournament too, getting at least one kill or one double in each round (except against my husband lol damn his 6’4″ reach!), so I will take those as “wins” as well despite my two-out-of-three losses in each round. Again, aside from my husband I was paired against fighters with much more experience than I have–and even my husband had some experience with “modern” fencing when he was younger. So as the noobiest noob in the tournament, again, I did pretty well. To be able to kill or double kill against more skilled opponents is a great feeling, especially for me. I’ve never, never been good at sports. At all. And now I’ve found a sport that feels almost natural.

It helps to have the support of my local rapier community (and close friends), whose advice and opinions I deeply respect. For them to encourage me and tell me how well I fight given my skill level–it really makes a girl feel good.

Soon I’ll have a rapier of my own to practice with, which should help me a bit. The one I’ve been borrowing is a fairly short blade (so even with my freakishly long arms I don’t really have any bonus to reach) and this one that I’ve ordered is a couple of inches longer. A couple of inches might not sound like much, but in at least one fight last weekend I would have doubled versus lost if not for those two inches. I have to give that opponent props for halting the round until she could trade her regular-length sword for a shorter blade once she realized I was wielding a short blade to even things out. I’m 99% sure she saw how close I had been to reaching her and wanted to make the fight more even-sided.

That’s another thing about rapier, at least in my experience so far: chivalry. If there’s any uncertainty about a hit (because with some of the armor it’s hard to feel a hit or feel if the hit was “good”) there’s discussion and concession. Sure, there’s the occasional jerk who won’t acknowledge a perfectly good draw on the side or who will declare a double when you yourself didn’t feel a damn thing, but so far I’ve found that to be rare. The majority of rapier fighters, good rapier fighters, will fight honorably. And that’s super cool. How often in other sports do you see knock-down drag-out screaming matches or even physical fights? Well, I’ll tell ya, rapier is not like hockey. We don’t throw down our swords and lay into each other. Nope. Civilized, man, civilized. That’s the way to be.

I’m going to an event in a couple of months where I will know probably only one person outside of my local “circle” of rapier fighters. That should prove interesting, as I’m accustomed to the fighting styles of my friends and haven’t had much experience fighting others. I’m actually looking forward to it though; the more varied styles I can fight against, the better I’ll get.

Bring it on!

So stuffed

In the aftermath of two years of cosplay and garb sewing, I have a TON of scrap fabric lying around. Character prints, solids, fleece, cotton, satin … the list goes on. What to do with it? Well, I think I found at east a partial solution:

Stuffed animals!!

Yep. They’re relatively small, there are tons of free patterns and tutorials out there, and, if done right, can be cute with coordinating scraps. No need to go running to the store for more stuff; I can use the fabric that I already have on hand. I’ve already got ideas for using my scraps to create new gifts for friends and family. Birthdays, holidays, thank-you gifts…this could be something worthwhile if I can pick it up.

Will this lead to anything else? Will I find my “place” in stuffies? Probably not, but at least it will keep me occupied and entertained. I’m going to make my first stuffed animal today; I already know what fabrics I’ll use and who it’ll go to. There’s the small pesky detail of what to stuff it with, but hell, I can just use scraps to stuff the scraps, right? It might be a bit lumpy, but it could work…right?

Okay, so there may be some running to the store–eventually. Right now, I’m going to make do with what I have and have some stuffed fun!