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Thoughts of the Lady in the Tower

2005-10-03 - 6:44 a.m.

This weekend I drug Nathaniel down to North Carolina for University. He was
unsure about going, but I didn't have anyone else to go with and it was a
long drive.

We left MD at about 6:30, and arrived at baronalejandro's home in
Durham at 11:30 (with an hour's stop for dinner and assorted other stops).
We stayed up and chatted some (we got to meet Maya, the fearsome
daushound!), but we were wiped and went to bed. The next morning came way
too early, and we made the 2 hour trip to Jacksonville for the event.

I was scheduled to teach at 11, but the class didn't make it onto the
schedule until the Thursday before (2 weeks after I sent it, because of a
cancellation in the chatelaine's track). I don't know if anyone wanted to
attend, but we got lost and arrived late. ::sigh:: I'm hoping that no one
noticed it.

N and I ran off site to get lunch (we wanted something a bit more
substantial than the bag lunches) and to get some cash (oops, neither of us
brought cash to travel with), and then we spent some time chatting with asim (well, asim and N chatted about
techno music stuff).

The first class I attended (after lunch) was Lucia's "Growing Atlantia", and
was billed as "How to relate to newcomers". I wish that there had been more time to get deeper into the subject. I did keep thinking, "I wonder if she'd come teach this class for my group."

The next class was lady_guenievre's Newcomer's Food Class (I can't
remember the actual name). I attended this class because I know very little
about food, so I thought it best to learn from a foodie what newcomers need
to know about food. :-) It was a very interesting class, especially
smelling the different spices and tasting the custard.

Then I took Girard's Fighting for Non-fighters. He pointed out
that there's two ways that he could take the class: how to get involved in
fighting if you're new, and how to watch fighting if you aren't going to
fight. There wasn't a clear consensus in the class which way to go, so he
(admirably!) tried to cover both. Some things (basic melee scenarios) very
easily go to both goals, but other things (armor requirements) really don't.

I did have an epiphany while in this class that made the whole trip worth
it. I had had *hours* of discussion previously about how to teach someone
(a nonfighter) how to watch fighting and figure out what's going on. I never really found a good answer; I think because he didn't really understand
that what I saw was a quick series of blows, while he saw a flat-snap, a
rap, a block, etc. Girard said that the first thing you do is
pick a fighter, and watch ONLY his sword. Once you get a sense of the
sword, you expand your field of vision and watch ONLY that one fighter.
Only once you get the hang of that can you step back and watch the whole
fight. I'm definitely going to have to try this, but it sounds like a good
way to train myself to 'see' what's going on.

After this class was my Newcomer's Q&A. It's supposed to be a sort of wrap
up so that they don't go home with any lingering questions, but no one
showed up. I chatted with G&G and we discussed politics, accessibility of
fighting (rapier fighting being much more accessible than heavy), and a
bunch of other topics.

We joined Juliana and Luqman for dinner at Outback, which was filled with
much laughter and good times. One thing that I found particularly
interesting during was her story of the time (as landed baroness) she had to
say "no". What was interesting to me was that she understood that with
volunteers, you just don't say "no" unless someone is going to get hurt or
break laws.

On the way home I started feeling Really Ill. It was probably a combination
dehydration and alcohol that I had with dinner. When we got to Alejandro's,
N and A started playing with toys while I showered and laid down. N picked
out his birthday present from me (a shiny new epee with a guard that will
work when he's ready to switch to heavy rapier). He was so excited that he
kept me up talking WAY past when I was ready to sleep. I think if they had
a lighted area big enough, he would have tried to convince Alejandro to play
with him right then. :-)

Sunday was a very relaxed, slow morning. I picked out the pieces for a new
heavy rapier (woot!), though I have to take it to my parents' house tonight
to get the tang (?) ground down enough to fit into the guard. We also punch
tested my linen, and discovered that 3 layers is *just* enough to pass. I
do wonder if I shouldn't plan to use four layers, though, because linen
softens in the wash and with time. Hrm. Then we learned a bunch of fun new
drills, so I'll be teaching those at practice on Monday.

Overall, it was a really fun and productive trip. Many thanks to baronalejandro for hosting us! :-)

Meeting Maya, the wonder pup
Seeing friends from NC
Interesting classes
Shiny new toys
Learning fun new drills
Relationship progress with N
Dinner at Outback
A weekend to pick Alejandro's brain
Friday night dinner at Cracker Barrel (love that place)

Arriving late and missing my class
No one showing up to the newcomer's Q&A
Feeling really ill Saturday night
Not having my CDs for driving (I drove N CRAZY flipping radio stations)