Friday, August 31, 2007

Finally home

Well guys

I have spent just on 8 weeks travelling the world, broadening my horizons and having an absolute blast.

I'll continue the city by city blogs over the next few weeks - Vancouver really was a great way to finish the trip.

I got back this morning, and have just finished watching Die Hard 4.0 - Excellent movie (in keeping with the others) - That John McClean really is an unlucky guy, always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Anyhow - off to bed, and then tomorrow afternoon the final hockey game of the season - if we win we're through to the finals, so I better go (I suspect the team needs me (shouting at them if nothing else)).

Lorenzo - I picked up your shield today from the post office (along with my other package I sent from North Carolina).

HINT - If you are in the USA and picking up too much stuff to bring back in your luggage, go to the US Postal Service and get a "Flat Box". It costs a flat rate of US$37.00 from USA to Oz (the lady at the Oz Post office today did a check on cost to send same package (13lbs or just under 6kg) back to North Carolina - AUS$99.00). Reliable and much cheaper than the excess baggage cost with the airlines.

Cheerio to all for now - hope you sleep well, I know I will (16hrs travelling from LAX + 3.5hrs waiting and the flight from Vancouver - too damn long).

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bored @ LAX but on my way home

This terminal is rubbish so don't have long - title says it all.

LAX has no entertainment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dreaming of home

Well now - home is but a couple of sleeps (and a really long plane trip) away. Looking forward to be back (except for work of course which will be hard after 8 weeks of not having to worry about it).

Yesterday I went up Grouse Mountain (more details later with photos) and saw some wolves, grizzly bears, some great scenery and climbed a couple of mountains.

Having fun here in Vancouver, Canada.

See you all soon


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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vancouver - an interesting start

Well, I arrived in Vancouver yesterday.

After eventually getting here (Chicago had 500 flights cancelled the day before and was still experiencing massive delays so I wasn't sure I'd get here), I collect my luggage and then on my way out a very friendly security person started chatting with me about my trip, and then what was in my bags. When I said I had armour for medieval combat he forwarded the suggestion SCA (so he'd heard of us), but didn't know much about us. He then led me off to a door leading off from the main area (da da da daaaa) - but it turned out to be a short cut through to the examination (luggage) area. He went through my bags (cheerful & friendly the whole time), found nothing of interest and let me go (Phew!).

Anyhow - I then met Kuno (Randy's dad, the person I'm staying with) outside and headed back to his house.

Today I was out exploring Vancouver city - tomorrow I'll head up to Grouse Mt and Monday - well we'll see what comes up. I am looking forward to getting home though.

See yawl later.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wrap up from North Carolina

Well, tomorrow I move on to Vancouver.

I have had an excellent time here in The States (specifically Pennsic (in Pennsylvania) to which all who can should go (at least once) and North Carolina, where I have been staying since Pennsic).

I have tried a diverse range of "American food" (both from north and south of "the border" (ie: Mexican). They have mexican restaurants on every corner like we have chinese & indian restaurants everywhere back home (with the same variance in quality and cost).

I visited Wal-Mart (several times) - sort of like a large Big-W store, but bigger.

In the last week that I've been here I went to a local training (where my helmet bit me due to being out of shape - see I knew it was time I retired it), got given access to a Jeep Wrangler, went for a ride in a speed boat and had a go at both water skiing (successful) and knee-boarding (more successful), took a "Pontoon boat" out for a trip around the lake (as driver), visited a local historical site (War of Independance related) and just generally experienced a lot of American culture (for those of you thinking it, don't say it).

I also went and saw the Bourne Ultimatium. It is very good, in the same vein as the other 2 movies. The only thing I would suggest is that you watch the Bourne Supremacey shortly before going to the cinema - it will help you keep up with who's who (in case you forgot) as it starts almost immediately after the end of that movie.

One of the things that really stands out here is that they love our animals (especially the Kangaroo). There are a number of products (and companies) that use them in their names, logos and advertising (very strange, but funny).

I have had an absolutely brilliant time here with Saunooke and Mikai, their 12yr old son Fox and their 3.5 dogs (Butch, China, Maya and Bess (the .5 dog).

I'm not sure if I'll write from Vancouver, but if not I will complete my photo journals for each of the cities I visited + Pennsic upon my return to Australia.

Thanks to all those who have written in - its good to know that some people are reading this.



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Saturday, August 18, 2007

What do you do in North Carolina???

HEY YAWL (I've been learning American)

Well - I have now well and truly recovered from Pennsic which was a Blast, and am living quite happily in North Carolina (near Greensboro).

I am staying with Micae & Sannouke, a lovely couple who I met at Pennsic (they are now part of Sir Gregory's household). She's a lovely Southern Belle and he's a large Cheroukee Indian - great mix.

Yesterday I went out and learnt to Waterski - it was great (but my neck hurts now from all the head-plants I did).

So it looks like tomorrow Micae's mum is going to lend me a Jeep (so that I am not housebound) for the next week or so. And now I'm wondering, where should I go??? Any suggestions happily accepted (no guarentee I'll follow them up though).

County USA is different and yet the same with country anywhere else.

More photos soon.



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pennsic - some photos


People have been bugging me for some photos - so here you go.

Now - First of all I need to explain Denis the Decadent. He is like the SCA Paparazzi (but more polite). And ends up in many places (including the on the battlefield) with his camera. He is a lovely fellow and provided a conglomeration of photos on cd for me. It's his photos I am using in this post (and probably others in the future).

He took this photo of me at Tarl's 2nd little Pole Arm tournament. It was a huge amount of fun - It would appear that my pole-arm fighting skill is better than I thought - I killed several Knights during the course of this tournament and those that I didn't treated me with extreme caution (and told me so afterwards). Tournament format was 4 "bear-pits" or "King of the hill" fields, with you scoring 1 point for each loss and 2 points for each win. The overall winner earned well in excess of 100 points (in 1 x 60min session and 1 x 30min session. The other nice thing about this tournament was that every fighter got a prize (there were 10 promisarys for a 1hr tutorial training session with 1 of 10 top fighters of the known world (I didn't get one of these)).

Then it was on to War.

Of course, before we could fight a war - it needed to be declared - thus we set off to opening court / war declaration. And I got to be Herald.

So - Then there was the big collection of royalty, down in front of the castle - they made their declarations and then there was War the next day.

So, then we went to war. And finally we started to see Miles smiling. He is a very serious fellow - but he really loves war, get him in a good battle and he grins from ear to ear (as can be seen here).

So, here we are after a great bit of fighting - and Miles is finally smiling.

One of the really noticible things over here was the amount of support from non-combatants.
Once the battle was over you didn't need to move more than a few feet before you were being offered water, gatorade and pickles.
I had an absolute ball.
Now, this next photo was taken during the Field battles - on the 3rd day.

From the left we have Sir Gregory, Miles, Gregor (an honorary Australian after joining with me on the 2nd day to do a "stupid 2 man aussie charge" (which was quite successful) me and Sir Agro.
We fought alongside the Kingdom of the West (led by King Jade) and so now I am (as mentioned before) a Defender of the West - quite a cool title really.
Anyhow - I think this is a good photo to finish with - so bye for now.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pennsic has ended - and now I'm in North Carolina

Hi guys

Well - Pennsic was a hoot, but has finally come to an end.

The plans to stay in Pittsburgh fell through - so I am now in North Carolina (one of the couples in camp decided to take me home). I'll organise a change in my flights (or an additional one from here) in the next few days.

For those wanting more photos - I should be doing some catch up blogging in the next few days.

Lorenzo - I have your shield and will investigate options for sending it shortly.

Regarding King Jade's fighting - he's fast but I really didn't see much of his fighting - I was busy having fun killing the bad guys (they were red, we were blue), doing silly (but effective) 2 man aussie charges and generally having a ball.

When not on the field I was partying and helping out with public safety (it's not security, honest).

Miss you all (except work which I don't miss at all). See you all in September.



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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pennsic coming to a close

Hi all

Sorry I've been so quiet - but there is so much to do (and lots of sitting around in the shade idling during the day).

Pennsic is huge, fun, strange, odd, full of joy, exhilerating, bizare & bazaar.

I have been having lots of fun.

The fighting started on the first Wednesday (before that there was just pick-ups). I entered several pole-arm tournaments and did far better than I thought I would. Met lots of fighters, had lots of fun and made new friends. When planning my Pennsic trip I was warned and headed that warning not to try and do everything - this worked well.

Then come Sunday, the real wars started (or maybe Monday). I fought in the Fort battle, Great wall battle, field battle, Allied Champions field battle and the Woods battle. I missed the Bridge battle this morning - body a bit to sore and tired.

As Lochac's Royalty did not attend Pennsic, Lochac has been fighting with the forces of the West Kingdom, led by their King, Jade. He has been incredibly generous in his praise for every fighter under his command and I have found several great things that I will definately do if I ever become King (which my lady has suggested would be a lovely way to return to Pennsic in a few years - this time together). I have been made a Defender of the West (all those who fought with the King of the West were made such). Pretty cool title.

The fighting was great, especially in the field & woods battles you really got a feel for the huge numbers involved.

One of the greatest things about the battles is that they are all started and completed by the firing of several black powder cannons - they are awesome (especially if you happen to be close to them when they go off as I was yesterday at the end of the woods battle).


Every night there are several parties on - most people are very friendly (especially once you say G'day) and I have made lots of friends just wandering around.

During the first week the primary party place is called Vlad's (now just to explain, Pennsic is huge - est. 12,000 people at full numbers - and there are many people who come and have nothing to do with the war or fighting - many of these live down the bottom of the site around the lake (called "The Bog"). Vlad's is down there and basically is a party house for the first week of the War. This year they were celebrating 20 years of Vlad. On the Thursday they had Drag Races, Mud wrestling and then a wet toga competition - brilliant.

Probably the best party that I attended however was West Kingdoms Viking Luau. A short way into it, the heavens opened up in a serious storm (again, we've had many). However, instead of dampening the party, the drummers who had just arrived started drumming and everyone just started dancing or at least partying harder than they had been - it was brilliant.
I did pause during the party to attend the Kingdom of Calontir party - their's was much quieter but did involve a 5 hole minature golf course using a number of Scutums.


The variety of stuff available was stupendous - unfortunately being limited in both cash and weight allowances I have been very restrictive in what I'm buying.

I did buy my new helmet though - a German Onion helmet with both a "mail slot" closed face and also a bar gril (interchangable and hinged). Fairly good deal.

The merchants are all very cool and you can often learn stuff from them (especially those who make stuff) without needing to buy.


Well - that's about all for the moment, but if anyone has any questions or queries, let me know.

I leave in 2 days - tomorrow will be a lot of packing up the campsite, and then I'll be staying with some people in Pittsburgh before flying on to Vancouver.



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Thursday, August 02, 2007


Hey guys - I made it.

Flight from Frankfurt airport was good - arrived at Washington DC (Dulles International) during a lighting storm. Ground staff were all sent inside and we had a 70 min wait about 50m from the terminal. By the time we (and all the other planes) made it inside, it was a shambles. Too many people coming through, collecting baggage, going through customs and stuff (but, they let me in).

Caught my connecting flight to Pittsburgh which was 2hrs late in running, got to Pittsburgh and found that only 1 of my 2 bags had joined me on the train (good news is that it arrived the next day, the airline paid for it to be sent to the campsite).

Pennsic is great but unlike anything you've done before (SCA or otherwise). Its a regular campground / Multiple Rowany festivals / Sunday markets and many other things all rolled into one.

It is very hot during the days (mid to high 30's), and in the valley its very humid as well (theres a lake).

I should be doing my first combat this afternoon - have so far been at site for 3 nights (arrived the first & partied the next 2) - and have so far had about 13-14 hours sleep in total - so am likely to crash at some stage (hopefully after fighting this afternoon).

Photos and more later.



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