femkes_follies: (Default)
sitting on the couch watching "Jodhha Akbar." Again. OK, it plays merry cob with actual history, but it's a good movie and Hrithik Roshan is always worth watching.

Really, my one regret about leaving the SCA is not getting the chance to do the Mughal/Rajput reign. That would have been fun. Of course, it also would have been Pearls before Vikings, if you will. About 5 other people would have enjoyed it, in sum total, I suspect.

What I don't regret is the idiocy.

I think I mentioned a time or so that the Hubs was planning on trying to start a Fighter's Collegium, centrally located, with a guest speaker each session and a training curriculum. Basically a HEMA dojo. It got dismissed out of hand by most of the fighters in the region and with two major (not mutually-exclusive) responses:

A. Rolled eyes/disinterest in anything that resembles historical fighting. If it didn't involve teaching them how to win Crown, they weren't at all interested.

B. Utter disdain for anything being promoted by a "nobody." I mean (and this is a quote) "You're not even a squire!" O.o

Screw the lot of you.

And - newsflash: SCA fighting has no basis in history to speak of. The wrap shot is just completely ludicrous and can only exist in a system in which your opponent is prohibited from presenting you with an arm bar and dislocating your shoulder. Ditto the rest of it. Stop pretending otherwise. It's no more historically accurate than Olympic fencing.

I have now gotten THAT off my chest, and I'm heading for bed.
femkes_follies: (Default)
I don't "do" Danish. But these journals (which are all available as .pdf's) look to have some extremely interesting scholarly work. Check out issue 7, for starters.

Have fun, y'all.

femkes_follies: (Default)
Blame Alesone - she's dragging me back in for one more performance, and that drags my brain back in as well.

However, given that I've had done with things for the most part, I can now vent with a certain degree of impunity - given that I don't care what anybody thinks of me or says about me behind my back (or even in front of my face).

The Middle Kingdom is broken. It is going to stay broken. Because no one wants to fix it. After all, we're all equals, but some of us are more equal than others. The basic list of problems:

1. The "Pro Tour" - the fact that even Royal Peers call the string of events that Royalty is always at the Pro Tour. So every year with dreadful regularity you can set your Calendar without every knowing who Crown even IS. While other groups go for 10 and 20 years or more without any sort of Royal Visit. And responding to this plaint with "People who want to see Royalty just need to travel more"? Sort of makes me want to punch you in the face, even if you are a Royal Peer. Just sayin'.

And it is apparently more important to go to a localish event where all of one's household are expecting the Crown than to an Inter-Kingdom event that the OTHER Kingdom's Royalty are attending. Heaven forbid the Crown OR the Heirs show up for that. Three years running. I'm embarrassed on behalf of the Kingdom.

2. The absolute disaster that is the Kingdom Calendar. Dropping the 150-mile rule to the 100-mile rule didn't help anybody. Reinforcing the "Don't be an asshole" rule will be an even better idea.

Look, I know it seems like a dichotomy - but the economy is crippling events. It's very difficult for people to travel like they once did AND at the same time it's damaging for every event to have so many small events on the calendar. And people who don't get this clearly don't understand the economics of the decision making at that level. It isn't just "Do I go to even A or B this weekend?" It's more complex. "Do I go to event A this weekend? Or to even B in two week? Because I can only afford one this month." Or "Do I go to two events this month, and 'support our neighbors and my own group'? Or do I save up and go a little further to an event out of state instead?"

Five and six events per weekend is bad for everybody. People are cutting down on how many events they go to. More events is not the answer. Why is this so hard to compute?

3. The Peerages. OMFG. All of them need to be Spoken To. And any of them who refer to non-Peers in public as "Generic SCA-ers" need to be knocked upside the head with the nearest heavy object. OL? Please try to understand that running down other people's work does not, in fact, make you look better. If you were Laureled in 1976 for something you haven't done since then and it's given you a complex... go sit in the corner and Shut Up Already. OP? Hey, now would be a good time to NOT try to convince people that (because, let's face it, the requirements for this Peerage are fuzzy at best) if you decide that they're not The Right Kind of People you'll black ball them in Circle. Pretty sure no single Pel has that kind of power and even implying that you might do such a thing brings Un-Peerlike Qualities to new lows. Knock it the F*** off. And the Chiv, ah the Chiv. Lots of "Peer-like Qualities" talk goes on here, too. And many is the Knight who will spend hours on the training field praising and polishing and telling an Unbelt what a well-thrown wrap that is. But get into any sort of Tournament with any cache at all and the "rules" change. Land a nice clean shot to the ribs, hear the Knight say, "Good!".... and watch him take a leg. Claim it doesn't happen, but I have eyes and ears enough to know that if you're an unbelt - particularly one not squired or not squired to someone who Matters(TM) - well, a Knight doesn't really have to acknowledge defeat. After all, "whining" about it will get you no-where. Your word vs. a Knight? Good luck with that. Ditto the petty machinations that go on with Crown Tourney. I suspect some people got Ideas from the 2nd Crown Tourney where it was Understood that no one was to beat Lutr... no matter what The Rulz might have said. Ideas that it was OK to try to Imply that the Victor should be anyone in particular. This is not the Kingdom of the East. You don't get to Vote. Knock that the Hell off, too.

4. The tendency to respond to criticism with "decorative" fixes. F'rinstance - the Principality thing finally got heard. The response, thus far?

Schedule a Regency Court - Wow. Can we say "fixing the wrong problem"? Nobody (at least in my hearing) has argued that the issue is not enough Awards being given out. And - news flash - a Baron and Baroness are not a King and Queen. Nor even a Prince and Princess. The only people who don't get this are people who are deliberately being dense OR possibly Landed B&Bs with over-inflated ideas of their own importance. Representative of the Crown? Yep. Important to anybody but their own Populace? Nope. Lacking in the same degree of splendour as a Crown or Coronet and missing the equivalent emotional force.

Hold Regional Officer meetings - We're listening! Really! We're having meetings and everything!

Make a last minute change to declare Pentamere's 12th Night to be Kingdom 12th Night. - Rly? This fools anybody? Or, ya know, we could actually follow Kingdom Law as it was written to declare 12th Night a Kingdom event and bid it out, etc. Just cause that's what we're SUPPOSED to do. Crazy idea, but it just might work. Is it a Kingdom event or isn't it? S**t or get off the pot, already.

Have Hoary Old Peers declare that the Principality question is a Dead Issue. Because they say so.

"Peer Pals" for smaller groups, so they have a line of communication to the Crown. WTFBBQSheepOnFire!! Nobody should NEED a Peer to approach the Crown. Then again, the Crown should bloody well respond to any concerns brought to them. And NOT through some ham-handed lack-wit Peer likely to make the situation worse. Most inter-group conflicts that went really awry that I know of were created BY Peers. I can't begin to see how this could be better. Worse, almost certainly.

In summary - The Middle Kingdom learned absolutely nothing from it's 3 previous Principalities and fully intends to make the same mistakes again. Why? Because REALLY making changes of a substantive nature would be inconvenient for the Crown and not in the best interests of the way the Peers who run the Kingdom want to play.

5. (and you're going to think I'm a little nutz here) Death of the food culture of the Kingdom.

Feasts are a joke. Either laughably bad or intentionally non-period or sometimes both. No dayboards. Lunch taverns that serve hotdogs and bratwurst lauded as a great new addition to the event.

I think we really lost it as a Kingdom when we ceased breaking bread together. So much of the human experience is wrapped up in food. Cultural identity, comfort, emotional commitment. And we have none of that. In fact, in an effort to squeeze EVERY activity into EVERY event we often don't even leave space for communal dining. There isn't anywhere TO eat together. Yet, how many people that you know in the SCA did you COME to know over a meal? Feast, potluck, lunch, between-bout snack. Leaving aside the personal reasons why my family can't manage feasts... I think the Kingdom started to lose it's glue when we decided they weren't important. The whole "dream" started at a banquet. But now it's too much work to sit feast for a large event. Or even lunch. BYOB. And go eat it in the corner. If you're lucky, you might get Pomegranate Chicken. Or fish in fish sauce with a side of fish. Maybe some cole slaw?

It wouldn't BE that hard to get this right. A little advance planning and contacting some farmer's market vendors and you could have the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Heck, even I know people who could provide venison, or would custom-raise rabbit, or peacock, or swan if you wanted it. But we'd have to commit again as a Kingdom to making it a priority.

So, in a nutshell, all the little "changes" being made right now are the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Have fun with that.

- The Recovering SCAdian who is now just a Nameless Sempstress


Sep. 16th, 2011 06:59 pm
femkes_follies: (Default)
Just got my Pale (MK Kingdom newsletter). Reading through the various letters, it seems that Fall Crown will be invite only.


OK, first, very glad we changed our minds and plans about a number of things recently. Or I'd be really PO'd.

But one wonders what they're thinking.

Well, probably they're thinking that they can "up the quality" of the candidates. One recent example has peeved a lot of people. But, frankly, their are just as many a**holes and douchebags IN the Chiv as outside it.

And, given the recent atmosphere that at least implies a lot of cronyism and has generated accusations of attempts to fix Crown, does this really seem like a bright idea?

I await the shrieks of outrage and yowls about Peers trying to make sure they control ALL routes to the Peerage. And there will be justice in them.

They're probably also thinking that making Crown Tourney "Special" again, by making it invite-only will inspire more people to fight and again, up the quality level.

Nobody is taking into account the economy and how that affects decisions to fight.

It smacks of trying to fix the wrong problem and I predict much angst and flaming.
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This topic has come up on one of the lists I'm on. Because it's not MY group, I haven't jumped into the conversation. But it's an interesting conversation. And I'm curious about what everybody else thinks.

Local Group is fairly large, healthy, and vibrant. They host Kingdom level events and Regional level events and have their own Shtuff. Some years back they started a niche event, catering to one subset of people who prefer a specific Art. It's become a decent draw, pulling like-minded people from around the Kingdom. Niche event comps the teachers and volunteers from around the Kingdom who come specifically to provide the means for the attendees to practice their art. For this service, these people (about 1/3 of the attendees) are comped part to all of the site fee.

A few years back, Group adds a specific Fighting event. There are no classes, no thrown weapons, no other activities but fighting. Nobody is comped but possibly Royalty (and maybe the B&B, I'm not sure).

Now the group has added a third niche event (again, related to a specific subset of the Arts anbd Sciences) and a member wants to add a 4th (again, catering to another subset, that significantly overlaps the first).

So now the discussion has arisen as regards to comping teachers and volunteers.

Point of View 1:
In order to build a quality event, we must draw certain experts who may be a long distance away. It is a good investment to comp these people, who are giving up their own "fun time" to make sure that others have fun. They are a unique resource and should be managed as such. Many of them are mundane professionals and are compensated when they perform similar services at other events.

Point of View 2:
If we're going to comp one type of volunteer, we should comp anybody who is there solely to volunteer. It's not right to make people pay to volunteer if it's an event they have no other interest it. We're giving up our day for your fun, and there's nothing in it for us. At least the teachers/support people are participating in an activity they enjoy.

Point of View 3:
Nobody should be comped, short of Royalty. It is part of SCA culture that the host group provides the manpower and serve as the "hosts" of the Party. It's also part of SCA culture that people who come to teach their chosen field are also not "paid" to do it - they're doing something they enjoy anyway.

Now, I like Duchess Fina's suggestion that the group vote on any event go as follows:

If you like the idea and you're going to help, you vote yes.

If you are ambivalent, may not bother, ,or are going to be out of town, working, or otherwise unavailable for that event, you obstain.

If you are against the idea or think it's an OK idea but don't intend to help, you vote no.

You all know that I'm in favor of "themed" events and generally get annoyed with all events trying to be all things to all people.

But I suspect this group has fallen down the opposing trap (and I've seen it locally, too). One or two strong personalities want to do Special Event A. The rest of the group thinks its more or less harmless, and go along with it. Fine and good, event makes money, and starts to build prestige. But pretty soon, other members start saying, "Hey, I want to put on Special Event Q! It's just as important as Special Event A!!" And, since there isn't any REAL ground to argue with this, they put on Event Q. But past a certain point there are too many focused events that appeal to too few people IN the group. They may or may not start to have trouble with getting enough help. But, beyond the help issue, start to build resentment. It's hard to object to Special Event A, since it's a success and well thought of, without sounding like a boor. But to be given the subtle message that you must support the event that you don't care about AND pay site fee to volunteer at it while people who ARE interested are fully comped because they haz skillz.... can get under people's skin.

Frankly, I'm not sure they'll solve the problem until they limit the number of Special Events they host. Yes, most of them are decent event ideas. But it might be time to recognize that, no matter how worthy, one group need not host them all. Possibly it's time to pitch some of the new ideas to other groups....

Eh. It's late. I'm squirrely. But I thought the topic was interesting.
femkes_follies: (Default)
So, my separated-at-birth-sister is looking at a tres cool hat. But she's not a knitter. Until we can infect educate her, is there anybody who might be interested in this complete Project of Insanity that she has in mind here
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"If the average time to peerage is 10-15 years, then you will have a stale kingdom."

femkes_follies: (Default)
This is the latest incarnation of Teh Cwazy:

I'd like to at least consider an event that was designed as basically a "Royal University of the Midrealm Freshmen Orientation," if you will. A newcomer-oriented event. But a little more than that. Because nobody likes to go to an event by themselves, and so there needs to be a reason for at least some of the Olde Pharts to attend as well. So, this is the current version of insanity knocking about it my head:

Newcomer classes. And not so much of the "Beginning Nalebinding" variety. More adjusting to the anthropology of the SCA: How to Create a Persona, How to Watch a Tourney, Known World Geography, A Field Guide to Metallic Headgear.. etc. Probably also some garb basics and such. But largely an orientation.

Make-n-Takes. Tables in a large room that will allow people to sit down and learn a skill that involves taking with them a Useful Object. (Pouch, belt, favor, etc.) Something simple enough that it can either be completed on site or at home without help from the instructor. People who are presenting them can set materials' fees and/or require pre-reg.

Project Gold Key - Teams from local groups show up with sewing machines, an outfit (the more horrible, the better) from their groups' Gold Key that no one wants to wear, up to 4 yds of additional material and up to 10 yds of trim. There will then be a "twist" which I am not currently revealing. :-D and they'll have a given time period to "make over" the Gold Key garb. We'll also provide a "trade table" of fabric and trim that can be used (but they must leave an equivalent item ON the table). Thus, the "Trade Table" materials can come back for a later event. Fashion show to follow, basins on each work station for "bean count" voting.

Dueling Dayboards - Teams from local groups may present a Dayboard (restricted to a single time/place) of period foods. This will let us introduce new people to period food in a "tasting menu" setting. And, again, basins for "bean count" voting.

Combat demos and lectures - "Easy ways to hide modern gear," "What you need for your first kit," etc. Also maybe a demo of Tourney Styles and chivalry schtick with appropriate Ladies' Gallery. How to salute your opponent, your lady, etc.

A Royal Patroness - I'd love to have one of the Ladies of the Rose both play Hostess with the Mostess - AND allow Gen Rose to set up "Ladies in Waiting" - Retainer training in a non-threatening setting that doesn't actually involve the K&Q. Maybe start with her "How to Retain" class and then do shifts waiting on Her Grace/Excellency. If we could also get one the guys to play along, any of the gentlemen that would like could do the same, "Valet for a Day" if you will. And take home a token - GenRose's Certified Trained Retainers!!

I'd like for all the newbies to go home with a pack of good info, and inspired to do MORE than just stand in the corners and watch.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Offers to supple a Straight Jacket?
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Currently debating with myself if I want to even TRY to put anything together for Kingdom A&S. I can't GO myself. But I could maybe send something small that is nonperishable. Knowing that my entry would get judged on it's written docs while the others will be face to face.

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Yeah.... That's not the only reason. Calontir is REALLY heavy on the Early period stuff.. the whole Kingdom has an Early Period persona - a factor they have used for years to avoid allowing fencing.

I'll give you my theoretical list of factors:

1. Peer Pressure - whether because lots of Royalty choose it, or because "everybody else" is doing it... Viking begets Viking. There are a lot of local groups that have "group personas" as well - and the vast majority of those are Viking/Early. I think it's a bad idea, and likely to adversely affect recruiting. But that's just me. Why do so many Royals choose it? Fast forward down to #4 and add that the Stick Jock variety of SCAdian (And I'm married to one) is more likely to be this type. Because we all assume it's pretty easy, its also often the first culture that newbies get introduced to - with the caveat that they can DO this. Nobody tells a brand new SCAdian, "Oh, just make yourself a corset, farthingale, petticoats, gown, tie-on sleeves, silk stockings, and come to our event next month!"

2. It's easy. It doesn't take a lot of sewing skill to put together something that looks reasonably viking. It takes even less fitting ability. And... it's much more likely that you can borrow someone's garb and not look like you're wearing someone else's clothing - whereas it's pretty darned hard to wear someone else's GFD. There is also a lot of available info on SCAdian recreations (I'm saying nothing here about actual GOOD reconstructions). Because Viking garb construction is relatively uncomplicated, there are a lot of sites available that give specific instructions about how to make them - with measurements. It's a lot easier to make an outfit based on a formula and drawing of rectangular pieces than it is even to make a GFD based on the Cote Simple instructions.

3. It's cheap. Early period stuff doesn't requires a lot of fabric, and relatively inexpensive fabric choices will look OK. Now, a good Viking necklace requires some knowledge and expense to assemble, and good turtle brooches can likewise be pricey. You don't see really nice versions of either very often. Yes, you can make a budget Burgundian. But it's a lot harder to fake silk brocade than it is to find plain weaves of linen and wool for super cheap.

4. Men like pants. A LOT of women pick their own garb based on what their Man wants. (Especially if they're not married or haven't been married long). They feel as a couple they must "match". And men - like pants. It takes someone confident in his masculinity to do a short cote, braies, and chausses. Or pumpkin pants. They prefer something that either involves Real Pants... or has a tunic long enough that they can wear pants under the tunic and leg wraps without anyone being able to tell.

5. Its the Scadian equivalent of jeans and a T-shirt. It seems casual. Comfortable. Something that you can wear whatever you're doing. It's easy to camp in. No elaborate hairstyles, footwear, or garments involved. I only really roll my eyes when people try to "bling it up" as Court wear. With appliques, embroidery, etc entirely inappropriate to the garment. Though y'all have now upped my Gack-O-Meter with the conversations about What People Do Wrong.

6. Romance of the Viking - I think this (and a high Scandinavian descendent rate) is part of the explanation of why they're Oh-So-Popular in the U.S. Midwest. Something about Viking Raiders strikes a chord with the Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes who still live there. And resonates with the local history of Pioneer life. Cattle rustling/Coastline Raiding - what's the diff?
femkes_follies: (Cool)
I got to thinking this past weekend, while bouncing a few things off Dad (thoughts, questions, Caramel puff corn....).

We occasionally comment on small groups and lack of willing officers and how it leads to people wearing too many hats.

What we don't always consider, however, is that the way the SCA structures its officer divisions in some ways combines disparate duties under a single title. Let me give you a "fer instance" or two.

Herald: There a voice Heralds, there are list Heralds, there are Protocol Heralds, and there are book Heralds. Very few people are good or even interested in all aspects. However, a local group Heralds is expected to maintain the OP, herald Court in the event of a Royal Visit (often the Kingdom Herald is there to do this, but there are instances in which the local Herald is just "it."), AND assist members with name and armory submissions. This, I posit, is a poor breakdown of job descriptions. Because, let's face it, most local heralds that I've met are exceedingly poor and usually disinterested book Heralds. They have no wish to learn the submissions process, and therefore they give out Very Bad Advice and lend heavily toward the poor image the CoA has with the general membership. Those folks who DO like book heraldry often avoid stepping up as a group Pursuivant on the possibility that they might someday have to herald Court. It would make a heck of a lot more sense to make the group Herald responsible for the OP and Court-based stuff, while having At-large Consulting Heralds who are trained at submissions. We get half-way there with consulting tables, but still.

Web Minister: OK, let's face facts. A lot of local group pages are an affront to nature. The fact is, a lot of folks who consider themselves "tech savvy" - learned HTML 1.0 in 1997 and never kept up. Think I'm exagerating? (Sorry, Lettice, but this sucker makes my retinas bleed on several levels, in addition to being WAY out of compliance with corporate policy). The problem? Well, first that aforementioned lack of updating coding skills. The other issue is that the intersection of groups of folks who can code with groups of folks who can manage aesthetics and graphical design to any degree is vanishingly small. And yet, we lump them all into one group. No, I don't know how to solve this one. I'd noodled on the concept of suggesting would-be WebMin's ask their groups to purchase a good web development book. (As the typical SCAdian webMin can't or won't drop $20-30 on a book...) However, it doesn't make a lot of sense for the Canton/Shire/Barony to own a book that will be outdated by the time the office changes. Maybe a list of good on-line resources for basic development skills. The other aspect - good design - is more challenging. It would be nice if a pool of folks with talent in that aspect could be developed who could design a graphical layout, and then just send it to the WebMin of a given group to be sliced and used in the creation of the code layout. But I'm not sure how that would work in practice.

Fuzzy chains of Command: Traditionally, in this neck of the woods, Regional officers pretty much collate reports. They have responsibilities... but no authority. They don't exist as an independent body, so they don't talk to each other. They are, strictly, deputies of their Kingdom superiors. But more can be made of it, with a little effort. While the Regional deputy for a given office doesn't have the authority to require much of anything and can bring no sanctions for noncompliance - beyond reporting to their superior - they CAN encourage things. They CAN call meetings at events. The Regional Chatelaine and Chronicler have been known to do so. Some of the others could do so as well. (It might not be bad for the Regional Marshall to sit the Group Marshalls down and have a heart-to-heart on their reporting responisbilities, as an example). It's one of those areas where the officers have exactly as much authority as they exercise... so long as no one intervenes from above. But they don't have to be just decorative...
femkes_follies: (Default)
So, here's my next little thought-project:

West Pentamere Costume Collegium - an extended clothing workshop in four sessions

Quarter 1 - Pick a Time and Culture, determine the appropriate garments, draft a pattern

Quarter 2 - Underwear and Foundation Garments, Assembly - techniques covered will depend on student choices and what is necessary to complete them

Quarter 3 - Fit, adjust, and finish. Adding trims, findings, embroidery, and other elements

Quarter 4 - Accessories and milinery - complete the look

Structure - sort of free-floating instructor/student interaction. Less than a class, more than an open "work day." I'm planning for each "quarter" to basically be a day-long session. But not garbed, and not an "event" per se. Pot luck lunch/snacks. BYO sewing machine, we'll try to provide irons and boards, muslin, pads for note-taking, lap tops (hopefully with internet access) for portrait surfing, books for reference, and general notions.

Hopefully everybody will leave session 1 with a complete pattern and yardage requirments, as well as a notions list. The intent is to come to the next section with it at least cut out, possibly partly assembled, depending on the complexity.
femkes_follies: (Default)
It doesn't necessarily follow that you should.

(Brought to you by phenylephrine)

Let's talk briefly about event scheduling (and this will be a big ol' IKA, because it's just not even an issue for a lot of Kingdoms).

Now, the Mid has something we like to call The 100-mile Rule. Meaning - you cannot schedule an event the same weekend as one that has already been scheduled if it is within a 100 mile radius. Now, there's some wiggle room here, if the events are specific and appeal to very different segments of the general population. It has also been reduced - it was the 150-mile Rule not so long ago.

I do know that some other (usually smaller) Kingdoms operate on a "Don't be an Ass-hat" policy, rather than a firm rule.

I'm wondering if a firm rule sometimes actively encourages ass-hattery. In that groups start to play the "Well, it's 101 miles away, so we're good" game. Instead of thinking carefully about what they are going to do:

1. Do we NEED to put on our event? Is there a call for it, is it unique? Or is it "Local Event XXIX" - and our 5th of the Calendar year. But we always do it, so we're going to do it.

2. Even though the other event is outside the Rule - should we be courteous and schedule our event for another weekend? Locally, we tend to consider other Cantons in our Barony and make an effort not to conflict. But anybody else? Pfffttttt.

3. Will another large event further away significantly impede our attendance - and possibly make it wise for us to find another weekend?

4. If we, and our neighbors, both throw Small Local Events the same month every year... maybe they ought to be combined into one larger event - with more fun and more fanfare for everyone?

I think often we get so caught up in what WE can do and when WE can hold OUR event... that we don't think about whether we should. What are we doing to out neighbors? Are we so wrapped up in throwing 6 events of our own this year... that we don't get out to our neighbors' events? And, in so doing, we expect them to support us - while we don't reciprocate and support them.

I've seen some pretty good knock-down drag-outs over event scheduling, event ownership, and whose "weekend" is whose. As well as a mad scramble to get things onto the Calendar as soon as possible so that we "have" the weekend.

Think for a moment - what would your SCA experience be like if your neighboring groups stopped putting on events. And just came to yours.
femkes_follies: (Default)
Let me restate, as I was awful confused with the last post. So, given some of that backgrounds, what I'm sort of saying is this:

It seems that a lot of groups have just flat out lost access to larger sites (especially if they need to be indoors) due to increasing costs. Yes, we could raise site fees, but sometimes that won't do it. I DID surf some of the available sites in the Detroit area, and getting enough space for Crown as it currently runs might set you back anywhere from $3500-$7000. There just isn't anyway to confidently expect to not lose your shirt on that. And that's for sites that may not have much to recommend them, OTHER than size. The nice sites are a lot more!

So then, what do you do? Do you look for a site that will hold your event? Or do you cap an event at a certain number of attendees? Or do you deliberately alter the event to lower it's appeal?

I think that most of us would agree that we'd prefer smaller, well run and themed events with only one or two things going on to yet another of the same ol', same ol'. Though it is hard to convince groups launching a new event that they don't need something for EVERYone.

And, in the case of Crowns and Coronations -

Do you choose a less-than-ideal permanent site in one corner of the Kingdom and just figure those too far from it will have to suck it up?

Do you opt to limit the event to 400 attendees, and thereby make it easier for groups to bid for the events, as the site needs just dropped by half?

If you pick the first option, do you allow the formation of Principalities in the outlying regions, so that they can still have the benefits of Royal Events, even if they don't have the opportunity to host Crown and Coronation?
femkes_follies: (Default)
Comment, if you feel inclined, with a ball park figure of how many local groups your Kingdom has. If you're really feeling helpful, divide Baronies/Provinces from other types - but count each Canton as a Local Group, even though it belongs to a Barony.

I's curious.
femkes_follies: (Default)
In Which

Femke shall muse on the ins and outs of the MK Event Calendar, and why no one bids for Kingdom events. Opinions shall be expressed - and sought. Rocks shall be turned over. Possibly suggestions for solutions shall be found.

Background for those OOK:

The Middle Kingdom has a perenial problem in that the Kingdom Calendar is eternally clogged with events - 4 or 5 every weekend isn't uncommon. And yet, no bids get submitted for Kingdom events without serious arm-twisting.

Why is this?

Potential Reason A:

Kingdom Law, and a portion of the population, make a distinction between Kingdom Events, and events that happen every year that the King and Queen normally attend. It IS a bit fuzzy, looked at this way. Kingdom events are defined as Coronation, Crown Tourney, Rose Tourney, Twelfth Night, and RUM. All of them (barring Spring Crown at the moment) are supposed to rotate sites and are therefore dependent on bids. However, there are events IN the Kingdom much bigger in attendance and at which Royal Presence can be expected. Why, then, should a group bid for a Kingdom event, when they know the King and Queen will be there in a specific month for an event that they always attend. Which leads us to...

Potential Reason B:

It's become pretty standard for the King and Queen to attend the same events every year. There is very little suspense regarding where Their Royal Progress shall go - it goes along the same, rutted track every year. On occasion, there will be this or that smaller event that their Majesties will attend because it's near and dear to them or convenient. But by and large, most people in the Kingdom could make you a list of which events will have a Royal Presence - regardless of who is on the throne. The rut is so well recognized, I've had one small group say "To be honest, we've stopped sending invitations. They aren't coming here anyway."

Now, this has it's good points, and its bad points. On one hand, planning is easy, both for Peers, Curia, officers - and throne toadies. It also tends to keep event attendance consistent - both at the events WITH Royal Presence, and those without. And thus might be helpful in planning for the hosting groups. It does make it highly unlikely, however, that new events/new groups/small or outlying groups will get a Royal Visit. Is this possibly a factor in....

Potential Reason C:

The insanity of the current calendar. Some groups are putting on 4 or more events a year. Sometimes only a week or a few weeks between them. Why?

Now, there are good and bad reasons for launching a new event. Good reasons include a rockin' site and a novel event idea available on a weekend that's traditionally pretty quiet. And small groups who mostly throw local events for their own benefit and that of their immediate neighbors are their own category of event. Bad reasons include autocrats who have such a narrow focus on one topic personally that they are determined to create an annual event devoted to it - whether anyone cares to attend or not, the desire to just flat make money (which usually backfires), trying yet another cookie cutter event in the hopes of finding something that works, insisting that "Event of Valor XXXLI" must continue at all costs because it is tradition!, etc.

Now, over time, we're likely to continue to have increasing trouble finding acceptable sites, maintaining attendance at cookie cutter events, small groups struggling to get anybody from outside the local area to attend, and continued reluctance to bid for Kingdom events when groups are so dedicated to putting on so many "permanent" events.

I'm going to crawl out on a limb and make a few statements that are likely to be "anathema," yet again:

Groups should be limited to the number of events they may host per year, and how frequently. (Though care must be taken that Baronies divided into lots of Cantons don't take advantage by having events "officially" hosted by rotating Cantons that are really Baronial events).

Encourage nearby groups to Co-Host - and maybe even consolidate smaller events into larger ones that can have more than just token fighting, fencing, A&S, archery, whatever.

Make it known via Kingdom list, newsletters, Missives from the Curia, etc. that bids are wanted for Kingdom events. Perhaps there ought to even be some reward or honor of some type for the hosting group.

As it stands, the only groups that tend to have much interest in hosting Kingdom events are those with personal ties to the King and Queen. Everybody else is so occupied with their own events not to care. Somewhere along the line we've lost the desire to host these events.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Rotten tomatoes?
femkes_follies: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] attack_laurel and her apprentice are putting ideas in my head again. ;-)

I wonder if there would be call/desire for a series-styled type of seminars locally on costuming. If I could find a location (my house isn't big enough for ME to sew in, let alone a group!).

Not a real frequent thing - I'm thinking quarterly.

Q1 - Design process, development, and pattern drafting

Q2 - Cutting and Construction

Q3 - Fitting, Hems, and Closures

Q4 - Finish work, decorative elements, and accessories

Thoughts/advice/warnings of insanity ahead?
femkes_follies: (Default)
Put together a "Grainaissance" festival event - a celebration of Beer and Bread. Classes on brewing, baking, raising grains on a small scale, milling, malting, and kilning. Ideally, someplace that would allow and have enough clay available to do a demo of a wood-fired oven on-site. Preferably be able to pull in a keynote presenter - even a mundane expert in the topic.

Actually, it would be keen to be able to BUILD a wood-fired oven that could be more or less permanent. But I'm not sure how THAT would work out. I'd have to think it over.

Get to another (or be part of hosting) a KW Costuming Symposium.

Host or go to a Germanic/Low Countries themed event/symposium. Sort of a "special interest group" educational event.

There's still the Other Matter that I'm inclined to pursue, at least by feeling out people to see if there's enough support for the idea to really start making waves about it. I have yet to see a good argument against it that doesn't amount to "because that's how we've always done it." Which, as a few other people have pointed out locally, often seems to translate more as "Because that's inconvenient for me personally, and I'm going to tell you to shove off because I can."

Tomorrow's plan - Feast of the Strawberry Moon. Probably fairly early on, before it gets too warm. Hoping to maybe find some willow. Promised Tracey I'd look at skunk hats for her FIL. Hopefully the girls will behave better. Rori spent the afternoon acting like she didn't GET a nap. And Anneliese has been in full bore "Let me show you every Autistic quirk I have" mode - everything from self-trauma to lying on the floor and kicking her feet. Hope this in not indicative of how the summer will go, in general. But I think it's time to lay down the law with her, foodwise. She's been so unwilling to eat at all that we've tended to let her have her way (She's about 4'3", and weighs under 50#. However, now that I know she WILL eat a lot of things she tends to refuse, it's time to make it a matter of eating what's set in front of her, rather than trolling the pantry. And Rori - only wants to eat what Anneliese has. Which is sort of handy at the moment.

May 2014

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