“There is a time when sperm are past their ‘sell before’ date”

Wow, judging from the amount of mail I’ve gotten over the last few days, I
figure a lot of people are interested in hearing how Clinton was. Well, 2 or
3 anyway. I hope that doesn’t represent my entire readership for this humble
little journal 🙂

Although Iambe has already
her thoughts on the trip, and a decent view of what happened, it
wouldn’t be right not to throw my own thoughts in. The trip up wasn’t that
long, only about 4 hours. We drove up with fozbaca in his car full of stuff, and I got a
lot of reading done (finished Xenocide on the way back actually, now I’m on to
Linus’ autobiography “Just for Fun”). The weather sucked leaving chilliwack,
and I was not in the best of moods, forseeing 3 days of rain and misery
(camping in the rain sucks in case you were wondering…. I don’t enjoy it
nearly as much as camping in the sun). Coming through the Fraser Canyon
things improved considerably, which made me feel a lot better. By the time we
arrived it was full out sun, which was very nice 🙂

There were a lot of people there. I never realized the SCA attracted so many
people to one place! The parking lot on the side of the huge field that was
being used as a campground/battleground was full of cars, and the rest of the
area was full of tents. We were given only the instructions on finding our
party (Cyranth and CyranthSqueeze) was “House of Juxt” (except we had no clue
how to find it). To imagine how we felt, go to a large mall and go in and
start looking for Bob. Just Bob, nothing else. After asking a bunch of
people we thought to check the message board at the front and found a note
with a map (whoho!) on how to get there. After another 20 minutes of finding
the area, and then finding the people in the area that actually knew what we
were looking for, we found our camp.

Tucked in near the creek showers and washrooms, it was a nice pavillion type
structure from Walmart ($500 I’m told) that belonged to the Gypsie party we
were camping with. It was very nice, and there was enough room around for our
tents, which Scott/Roger/Cyranth had planted the day before when he came up.

My basic impressions of my first Clinton war were “wow”. The garb ranged from
ok rags (what myself and Engel and Foz were wearing (Iambe says we look good
but I still say that’s just a way of getting us to look like peasants who have
lost their homes to bombing and are wearing poofy pants)) to simply
amazing gear. Full armour, chainmale (chainmail?) and
musketteer/rapier type garb was common and simply amazing. I’ll see if I can
find some pics somewhere online and post, because some of these guys (and
gals, but I’ll get to them in a moment) looked amazing.

The women’s garb on the other hand (aside from our own ladies, who looked
awsome) was also amazing. Again, they ranged from ho-hum, to, well,
wow. Lets just say that cleavage was in back in
those days (apparently when a lady bows to you it’s an invitation to check the
cleavage) and some went as bellydancers (again, wow). The lady dancing in the
tavern in the gold chainmale (chainmail?) bikini top was quite impressive (I
hope that the metal links weren’t cold!).

The camp was as I said before, basically a big field. It had all the
amenities of home though, if your home was in the 600AD-1600AD period.
Latrines were all around, as well as a Tavern where you could get your beer
and conversation at night. Behind it were showers with real hot water and a
bread making place called the somethingorotherthaticantremember Bun. There
were firepits for the bardic circles and woods all around, as well as a couple
of streams, one of which was the Clinton water supply.

Over the next two days I watched the war, rapier fighting, hung out in the
evening, browsed the marketplace, and sat in on a bardic circle or two. The
venders in the market area were pretty cool. You could get anything from
food, tarot reading and a massage, mugs and clothing, weapons (both steel and
the competition type that you can actually bash another person with without
killing them) and armour etc. A armour helmet can set you back $250-$450. A
knife or sword is between $5 for a tiny little knife to $450 for a huge and
beautiful double handed sword with some awsome metalwork on the handle and
hilt. I accomplished my goal of owning a sword on the last day by picking up
a small sword (not a knife, a full length sword (for a short person anyway))
for a cheap $44. Nothing special looking, but a sword nonetheless. The
“steel” “sharps” are used for decoration only, but certainly add the the
effect when you are in medievil garb wandering around. Some of the venders
were just re-sellers of stuff from medievil shops, but a lot sold their own
warez and were in their SCA life, venders. Pretty cool. I’ll see if I can
get a pic of me and the sword (which hacks up a dead airmatress just great by
the way).

There were classes going on in the day on everything from intro to rapier
fighting (fencing) to “the art of lechery” and “the art of bedwarming”. At
one point wandering around I came across either a lesson or a demonstration or
just plain fun at the tavern where they were doing knife fighting. 30ish
people, 20ish knives. The knives were the shortswords used by rapier fighters
(made of rattan, covered with soft stuff as not to hurt of course). Basically
the knives went on the middle table, the people stood around the edges in
their protective gear, and on a signal, well, last man standing. You are
trained to realize the concequences of the location and harndness of a hit,
so that if you got hit on the arm you put it behind your back as it’s out of
commission, or ignore light hits… honor system and chivilry make you
(hopefully) honestly take a “killing” blow appropriately. Lets just say that
not all rapier fighters are all gentlemanly and chivilrous. People were
falling over dead and being stepped on, and there were honest questions before
of “can we throw people/hide behind the bar”. It was very
cool to see the the chaos that ensued when the signal was given.

In the evenings sometimes we sat around the fire, and sometimes wandered. The
Tavern of course was “the” place to be. It was very cool to see the
assortment of people in their costumes sitting around and playing drinking
games, chatting, or flirting with the bellydancers. The second night I sat
around on a bardic circle where guys with decent voices were telling stories,
singing songs, and in one case, singing medievil version of Arrogant Worms
songs (“Me Like Hockey” was “Me Like Battle”).

Probably the neatest aspect for me was the ability to get away. No
technology, no email, no computers. Hell, even I wasn’t there. In
the SCA you assume the persona of a person who would have lived in that
period. It’s done “as it should have been, not as it was” because in those
days 99% of the people were poor farmers who were going to die of hunger or
illness before they were 30. So you become someone else. You are no longer
a pasty faced programmer but now you are a spanish swordfighter banished from
his homeland and crossing the country with the gypsies (or whatever). Even
with just a new name you can easily drop into a world where you introduce
yourself as someone else and that is who you are taken for. And the same with
other people. In the SCA “every woman is beautiful and every man is
handsome”. It basically re-enforces good manners, which only helps with the
illusion of this other life. It was great to drop out of my life into someone
else’s and imagine that I was in fact wandering around a camp and saying
“M’Lady, M’Lord” to the lords and ladies that crossed my path. In this modern
day saying “hello” to a perfect stranger (or 10) on the street would be viewed
as very strange, but in such an environment, it was completely commonplace,
and not that hard to do. A shy person such as myself was completely left
behind as I assumed my new name and persona.

A lot of the good time and interesting things I learnt there are due to our
gracious hosts (many thanks to all of you whose names I don’t remember) and
the “beginners introduction to the SCA” and “introduction to medievil
chivilry in the SCA” booklets. These proclaimed things like “Chivilry is
basically another way of drinking lots of someone else’s booze and having sex
with strangers”. Sounds like my kind of party, not that I did much of that of
course. It’ll be much more fun next year or next event when I have better
clothes, training, and maybe will be able to participate in the war.

Speaking of the war, it was fucking awsome. Imagine 200-500 people per side,
all in full armour, weilding swords and shields, with the light fighters
behind them with bows, crossbows, and as hammer-throwers. They march
togeather and amid shouts of “wheel right!” “wheel left!” they collide in a
mass of dust and sweat and thrash at each other, the guys with pole lances
trying to reach through the wall of shields protecting the knights. Wow.
Part of what appealed me is I’ve never been involved in that sort of mass
organized combat. Maybe something like football is like that, but I never
played football. I also like the idea of the rapier fighting, with it’s
gentlemanly attitude and skill with the sword required. However, after seeing
the knights go at it, I’m not sure. I guess you can do both eh?

Anyway, to make a long story short…. “had fun, bought a sword”.