The Society Seneschal Rules

WARNING: SNARK. This is a criticism of the stance of the Society Seneschal, not of the Chivalry. If you aren't the Society Seneschal, enjoy this as a funny interpretation of a poorly reasoned and poorly worded ruling.

The Society Seneschal, Barone Antonio Giordano da Sicilia, O.P., sent a letter to the Kingdom Seneschals yesterday, confirming the 1999 Society Seneschal's ruling that the Order of the Chivalry is exclusive to armored combat. His wording went farther than I expected, however.

It is clear that "tournament" combat in the SCA pertains exclusively to Crown Tournaments and Coronet Tournaments prior to January 15, 2015 and tournament combat is exclusively rattan, heavy, armored combat. The January 17, 2015 amendment to the governing documents, made by the Board of Directors, is in conformity with this position, namely, the only martial combat that may decide Crown and Coronet Tournaments is rattan combat and this amendment to Corpora is consistent with all of the governing documents of the SCA.

When the Order of Chivalry was created, it was conceived as the peerage whereby the best tournament fighters (both Crown and Coronet Tournaments), i.e. rattan, heavy, armored combat, would be honored with the title of Knight or Master at Arms. Such has been the case for almost fifty years. I must conclude that removing the "rapier as an ancillary activity" language or any other additions made by the Board of Directors has no definitive impact on the clear intent of the governing documents.

So the only tournaments that count for consideration for membership in the Chivalry are Crown and Coronet tournaments. Okay, I can get behind that. In fact, I think this is a brilliant idea, and as a Pelican my mind immediately jumps to implementation solutions.

Under this interpretation, the Order of the Chivalry may only consider the combat shown in in Crown or Coronet tournaments. The Lists officer in each kingdom or principality can provide the full roster of combatants from each tournament for consideration by the Councils of Chivalry. If we add in the consideration that the candidate must be the equal of his or her potential peers in the "basic forms of tournament combat," we can eliminate anyone who lost to more Chivalry than s/he defeated in that tournament (under standard double elimination format, you must defeat two knights or masters of arms for consideration). The Lists officer should be able to provide that information as well. At that point, the only discussion should be PLQs, and this will make Chivalry Council meetings much shorter!
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Letter to the BoD on Peerage

Recommendation: Remove the restriction of rattan combat from the Order of Chivalry at the Corporate level, and trust the Crowns to regulate the combat qualifications for knighthood and mastery of arms within their own kingdoms.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Board, I write to you today regarding the current situation with peerage recognition for rapier combat and other non-rattan martial forms.

The question of where rapier combat belongs in our Society has been an ever-evolving one, and one which has within my relatively short time in the game, reached a boiling point. The proposal developed by the APEC was one which took as its Board-mandated premises (1) that the Chivalry would never accept rapier combatants into its ranks, (2) that a new peerage order was the only solution to move forward, and (3) that rapier was the only combat form worthy of a new peerage. The proposal was short-sighted in trying to address only the current crisis without planning for the future recognition of other combat forms or a change in attitude from the Chivalry, and many people on the APRC said as much, myself included. A majority of you seem to have agreed, as the vote from the January meeting indicates.

Since your decision was handed down last week, the Society has erupted in debate, first over whether your change to Corpora allowed rapier combat through elimination of restrictive language (which many were excited about), and then, when the clarification was published, what should be done. Five things were made clear during the last week:

  1. There is overwhelming consensus that rapier combat should be recognized now, and it is accepted that other forms are on the way

  2. There is a mistrust of the Board of Directors imposing its will upon the kingdoms, whether through the creation of a new peerage or forced integration of the Chivalry by decree

  3. The Chivalry trust the Crown to protect their traditions

  4. People demand a resolution now

  5. The discussion is far from over

Just today, the Crown of AEthelmearc issued a letter to its populace, explaining that the Crowns of the Known World have been in discussion and likewise have reached no consensus, but Some are poised to act in defiance of the 1999 Society Seneschal ruling in order to recognize those members of their populace that They deem worthy. We have reached a Constitutional Crisis, and the Board must act swiftly.

There is an immediate and inobtrusive path to resolution that the Board recently employed to address the question of same-sex pairs entering Crown. Rather than continue to bar their entry at the Society level, or mandate that they be considered, the Board simply removed the Corporate-level restriction. The Board trusted the Crowns of each kingdom to exercise Their rights and responsibilities as Monarchs to safeguard the traditions of Their kingdom, care for Their people, and wisely exercise Their power to restrict entry into Crown Tournament for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Since the Board trusted the Crowns, some Crowns have allowed same-sex consorts, and some have not. Both decisions were correct for their kingdom culture and those candidates at that time. That decision will evolve as each Crown considers each couple before each Crown Tourney, which is all to the betterment of the game.

From what I understand of Corpora and your recent changes, the only restrictions at the Society level to admitting non-rattan combattants into the Order of Chivalry are a previously little-known policy decision by the Society Seneschal, and possibly the newly added language to Crown Tournament, "Only Chivalric (rattan) combat shall be used for formal tournament lists for royal ranks"). I urge you to take the following steps:

  1. Revise your recent addition to subsection C, Royal lists, to replace the word "Chivalric" with "armored." This maintains the format required for Royal lists without defining it through use of the name of one of the Orders of Peerage.

  2. Ask the Society Seneschal to rescind the 1999 policy ruling and all previous policy rulings which restrict all kingdoms to consider only rattan combat for the Order of Chivalry.

  3. Publish an announcement to all members of the SCA, stating that all restrictions at the Society level have been removed, and that the Board of Directors trusts the Crowns of each kingdom to consult with the peers of each Order and the populace as a whole, consider the culture and traditions of Their realm, and create new peers who will increase the honor and chivalry of Their Orders and Kingdoms, as they have done since the beginning of our Society.

By following the precedent set by the same-sex consort decision, the Board affirms its role as custodians of the business side of the organization, entrusting the Crowns and officers to maintain the game-side customs and traditions as they evolve naturally over time.

In Service to Crown, Kingdom, and Society I remain,

Baron Cormac Mor, Companion of the Pelican
Crescent Principal Herald of Caid

Kevin Rhodes, member #145833
Caid Representative, Additional Peerage Review Committee


Should I cut my hair?

So my hair is getting to the point where I either need to cut it, or commit to growing it out. I'm soliciting input from friends and family. Please answer the following poll, and make comments below.

Poll #1968263 My hair

Should I grow my hair out?

Yes, grow it out,
No, it looks fine as it is.
No, you should actually cut it shorter.
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Thrown Weapons Proposal

Edited to correct a misstatement about the Golden Lance.

Unto Their Caidan Majesties Conrad and A'isha, Their Caidan Highnesses Agrippa and Bridget, Mistress Cecilia Medici, the Thrown Weapons Awards Committee, and the thrown weapons community entire, does Cormac Mor, Crescent Principal Herald of Caid and Thrown Weapons Champion of Altavia, al-Sahid and Gallavally, send greetings!
I write to you this day regarding the proposed addition of new awards to recognize thrown weapons as a distinct combat form within the Caidan awards structure. It is my goal to convince you not to pursue adding additional martial awards to Caid's collection, and instead focus on expanding the existing awards structure to be more inclusive.

Currently, there are twelve Orders in Caid that carry an Award or Grant of Arms. These are arranged in six "tracks." They are:
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Morro Rock

Weight Loss Adventure, Week 71/16

It's been a while since my last check-in, and much has happened. I'm down 135 pounds (a bit up from my lowest of 138.4 pounds about a month ago), and very close to my goal. My primary care physician says that my actual ideal weight is about 205, as opposed to the BMI index which says that I should be 185 tops, so I'm revising my goal. But that's not the big news for this week.

I was interviewed in January by Kaiser Permanente about my weight loss, as part of an effort to give this program greater visibility among KP physicians. My story (and some impressive before/after photographs) were included in a powerpoint presentation that went around the Southern California region. Over the subsequent months, I was contacted by several departments within KP asking permission to borrow the slides with my story to incorporate into other presentations on weight loss. Eventually, the multimedia department asked if they could interview me again in front of a camera and incorporate the recording into a few promotional videos (one for patients, another for physicians, and a third for vendors). I agreed, and was interviewed at the end of April. I was told that I would get to see the videos once they were done.

Last night, as I was leaving work, I met a former member of the Board of Directors who'd not seen me in at least two years. He immediately recognized me, shook my hand and congratulated me on my weight loss. He told me that if he hadn't seen the video, he wouldn't have recognized me.

Ack! The video's out and I haven't seen it yet!

Also...the video's out! *happy dance*

I really hope that my story can help inspire others to achieve their weight loss goals, whether it's on this program or another.
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My Letter to the Board of Directors

Comments to the SCA's Board of Directors on the Same-Gender Consort Proposal for changes in Corpora are due Dec. 1.

Here's my letter.

Unto the Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism does Baron Cormac Mór, Companion of the Pelican and Crescent Principal Herald for the Kingdom of Caid, send greetings and salutations.

I write to you today on the continuing discussion regarding the allowance of same-sex pairings in Crown lists, and the various proposals to address the issue. I will quickly cover three points, then discuss my observations of the effect of same-sex noble couples on our game from my unique position as Crescent Principal Herald.

First, I reiterate my personal support for opening Crown lists to all adults who wish to participate. Openness and inclusivity are hallmarks of our organization, and the antiquated language that currently appears in Corpora is a detriment to those ideals that is rightly facing its end. Others have written far more eloquently than I about the historical precedent of same-sex co-rulers (cf Dame Ursula Georges) and of the deep emotions involved in being denied the right to fight for one you love simply because you and your love are the same sex. I will not further belabor these points; suffice to say that I agree with them wholeheartedly.

Second, I reject the current amendment to the proposal that a participant in Crown Tournament must be a fighter or a consort, but not both. Such a proposal would change current Crown participation here in Caid, where at least two fighter-consort pairings regularly fight for one another, and where several have done so in the past. While I understand the intent behind this proposal, to allay the fears of some in our game that so-called "superdukes" would pair up to dominate a Crown Lists, or otherwise daisy-chain themselves in an attempt to affect the results of the lists, such issues are rightly addressed on a case-by-case basis by the Crown, who has the right to refuse entry into any List for any reason. This same privilege of the Crown should be considered for every other amendment to the proposal, and for the proposal itself.

Third, while it is an improvement on the current language, I disagree with the proposed language which places the onus of approval of same-sex pairings in Crown Tournament upon each individual sovereign and consort hosting said tournament. This exception to the normal arrangement of the Crown refusing entry into the lists is an unequal treatment for a particular scenario, one which places an undue burden on the Crown for no discernable reason. I continue to add my voice in support of the much simpler proposal, to remove the words "of the opposite sex" from the current wording of Corpora. By removing all mention of sex from Corpora, the cultural considerations of allowing or disallowing same-sex couplings gets rightly placed within each kingdom. Whether same-sex co-rulers would be acceptable to the populace will vary by region, and it's clearly a game-side issue, so it rightly belongs in the hands of the Crown, not the Board. So I beseech you: instead of further entrenching Corporate in this matter through expanded language, remove yourselves entirely from the situation and let the kingdoms sort it out individually.

Now, the main reason I'm writing to you. There have been several who've expressed concerns that same-sex monarchs will cause pageantry to diminish, and specifically that the lack of a female presence in the big seats will be a detriment to our idealized vision of the Middle Ages. These concerns are understandable. Even in the 21st century, there are several roles and duties which remain perceived as gender-specific in communities worldwide, and those perceptions become intensified when placed into the medieval theme in which our game is played. It's also easy to establish a hypothetical scenario by which these issues raised play out in a negative light, solidifying one's inherent belief that the proposal will doom the SCA. Fortunately, we needn't rely on hypotheticals, as we have a real-life example already in place.

At this point, there is only one same-sex pair of landed nobles in the SCA; Barons Giuseppe Francesco da Borgia and Giles Hill of the Barony of Gyldenholt, in Caid. In my capacity as Crescent Principal Herald, I am the top officer in the kingdom for pageantry and ceremony. I'm happy to report that the barony is thriving under Their Excellencies' tenure. Giles and Giuseppe have gone out of their way to ensure that women are well represented within the barony. Their officer corps is evenly split between men and women. Their guild leadership is overwhelmingly dominated by women. They have gone so far as to create a new polling order that is bestowed through them by the ladies of the barony. This ingenious model ensures that women are more than represented in their court; they are actively engaged in the governing process.

So, too, is pageantry thriving in Gyldenholt. At the recent Great Western War in October, the Barony of Gyldenholt camped together for what I understand was the first time in several years. Their camp boundary was marked by a line of brand new gonfalons displaying the baronial arms, and the entrance to their camp was flanked by two impressive torches that lit up half the camp on their own. When the baronial fighting unit marched out to the field, they were joined by the entire barony, playing drums and running flag drills in an impressive and distinguished display of baronial pride. While I can't speak for official numbers on recruitment and retention, I can observe that there is a notable increase in interest in heraldic participation in the barony, and it seems like general populace is growing and becoming more active.

Finally, I would like to point out that some of the most ardent detractors to the proposed same-sex baronial rule model have warmed to the idea in recent months, and have continued their participation in the barony. I have personally witnessed many in Caid, both men and women, who had previously spoken out against same-sex pairs on the baronial thrones change their mind once they experienced the reality of Their Excellencies' tenure. I feel confident that, if given the same amount of careful consideration that the Crown of Caid gave Giuseppe and Giles, a solid pairing of men or women could be just as effective at championing same-sex royalty in every single kingdom.

So, to sum up, I support same-sex pairings in Crown Lists, admonish the Board to trust the Crowns to prevent abuses of Corpora and otherwise regulate tournament participation based on the cultural needs of Their populace, and encourage all to look to Gyldenholt for an example of same-sex seated nobility actively benefiting the growth and pageantry of the Society.

Written at Poore House in the Barony of the Angels on the Feast of Saint Catherine in the forty-seventh year of the Society,

Cormac Mór
Crescent Principal Herald
Kingdom of Caid
Morro Rock

Weight Loss Adventure, Week 27/16

Hey all, just doing a quick check-in.

I've continued on the program past the end of the 16 weeks, albeit less faithfully than before. I'm still using the product, still trying to keep my intake at ~1000 calories/day, and still exercising.

I've had three official weigh-ins since the end of classes, at week 19, 23, and 27 (so about once a month). My latest was today, and I'd lost 9.2 pounds since my weigh-in at week 23, 23.1 pounds since week 16, and 96.1 pounds overall. This means that I'm still on track to lose 140 pounds total (stated goal) before the end of the year.

However, these last 44 pounds are going to be the most difficult, for a few different reasons. First, instead of focusing on just weight loss, I'm going to work on toning muscle and getting ready to fight in armor again, which means that I may actually start *gaining* weight. Second, the closer I get to my ideal weight, the less there is to lose, which means that my loss rate will continue to slow (as it has over the last couple of months). Third, as we push into the holiday season, there will be more pressure for me to eat socially. On this last part, I beg my friends' continued patience and understanding.

I'm a couple weeks away from 100 pounds down! Woo hoo!!!!!

(no subject)

- Been an officer? Yep. Currently, I'm Crescent Principal Herald and a member of Caid's legal committee.
- Do you have an SCA name? Yes, Cormac Mor.
- Do you have an SCA persona? 14th century Irish Franciscan.
- Changed persona because of different garb? No.
- Been adopted by a person, household or clan? Sort of.
- Had a name and/or device accepted by the SCA College of Arms? Yes.
- Had a name and/or device rejected by the SCA College of Arm? Yes.
- Been taken as or taken an apprentice, protege or squire? Never.

- Been an Event Steward/Autocrat? Yes.
- Cooked an Event? Yes.
- Taught a class at an event? Yes.
- Run an activity at an event? Frequently.
- Ever fought at an event? Yes.
- Ever fought at Pennsic or another War? Yes (though not Pennsic).
- Done a different martial art at an event? Poorly worded statement. Different than what? Heavies? Then yes, I have fought heavies, rapier and shinai (and am getting into unarmored combat) as well as archery and thrown weapons.
- Ever run a martial activity at an event? No.
- Fought at an event tourney? Yes.
- Ever fought in a Crown Tourney? Not yet.
- Won a tourney or contest at an event? Tourney, no. Contest, yes.
- Made your own armor? Pieces of it.
- Made your own weapons? No.
- Been a squire? No.
- Have rank as an archer? No.
- Have rank as a fencer? No.
- Created a siege weapon? Not for battle, but yes.

- Have you ever entered an A&S contest? Yes.
- Have you ever won an A&S contest? Yes.
- Ever run an A&S contest? No.
- Ever judge/critique items in an A&S contest? Yes.
- Ever wordsmithed a scroll? No.
- Illuminated a scroll? No.
- Done the Calligraphy for a scroll? No.
- Made your own paper? No.
- Made a book? I'm working on it.
- Make someone's order medallion? No.
- Write someone in for an award? Yes.
- Have you ever sewn your own garb? Yes.
- Sewn Garb for others? Yes.
- Ever been sewing on the way to an event? Yes.
- Ever finished an outfit before an event? Frequently.
- Researched and completed an outfit from said research? Yes.
- Ever taught a class on sewing? No.
- Finished a hat? Couple of them.
- Do you know how to spin? Yes.
- Ever woven your own fabric? Yes.
- Do you know how to knit? No.
- Do you know how to crochet? Conceptually.
- Have you ever dyed your own yarn or fabric? Yes.
- Embroidered a garment? Yes.
- Beaded a garment? Yes.
- Ever entertained at a feast? Yes.
- Ever ran a bardic circle? No.
- Ever performed in a bardic circle? Yes.
- Had songs requested from you at such? Yes.
- Ever competed in a formal bardic? Yes.
- Know any period songs? Yes.
BONUS: Have you ever translated a scroll? Yes.

- Ran a court as Royalty? No.
- Ran a court as Herald? Yes.
- Heralded at Court? Yes.
- Been an Attendant, Guard or Champion at court? Yes.
- Been called to court to receive an award? Yes.
- Been called to court to present something? Yes.
- Been called to court for punishment? No.
- Been part of a court "schtick?" Yes.
- Done something while watching court, e.g., spin, sew, embroider? Yes.
- Had a royal comment on what you're doing? Yes.
- Have awards from more than one Kingdom? No.

- Have you ever gone to Pennsic? Yes.
- Ever done Zero Night? Yes, though it wasn't intentional.
- How many Pennsics have you gone to? Two.
- Ever taught a class at Pennsic? Kind of.
- Taken a class at Pennsic? Yes.
- Gone to Opening ceremonies? Yes.
- Been a waterbearer? No.
- Placed in a Pennsic tournament? No.
- Worked a shift at Chirurgeons Point at Pennsic? No.
- Worked a shift as security at Pennsic? Yeah, a few. :)
- Volunteered in any other capacity? Yes.
- Ever merchanted at Pennsic? No.
- Gone to the swimming hole, Classic or Family? Never quite made it out.
- 'Trolled the Bog for parties?' Yes.
- Hosted a party at Pennsic? No.
- Been part of a 'Pennsic building project'? Not sure what this means, so probably not.

- Ever traveled more than 8 hours each way for a one day event? No.
- Gone to a different Kingdom for an event? Yes.
- Lived in a different Kingdom? No.
- Have trailer hitch and trailer, mainly because of the SCA? No.
- What ridiculous lengths you've gone to get to an event? Arguably yes.

- Run out of closet space because of garb/gear? No.
- Ever crammed more than 4 people into a hotel room? Yes.
- Met your future spouse at an SCA event? Not that I know of...
- Met most past significant others in an SCA setting? Yes.
- Have better research books than your public library? Yes.
- Is your tent bigger than your first apartment? Yes.
- How many sewing machines do you have? In the house? Two, but only one functional.
- Own an anvil? No.
- Added something to the YKITSCA-When lists? Yes.
Morro Rock

Weight Loss Adventure, Week 16/16

I said last week that I would cross the finish line running. I had no idea I'd be at a full sprint. At the weigh in today, I was 7.9 pounds down from last week, for a total of 73.1 pounds over the 16 week program. I beat the previous record by 11 pounds. Wow.

So now I go into the maintenance portion of the program. I'm going to keep to the same regimen, but perhaps not with the same ferocity as before. There will be bi-weekly weigh-ins, but I probably won't post them here. Instead, I may post important milestones, and otherwise get back to posting about things other than my weight.

Thank you all for reading. Your support has been phenomenal.
Morro Rock

Weight Loss Adventure, Week 15/16

With one week left on the main program, most of my classmates are gearing up for the maintenance portion of the program. I will not be joining them, instead continuing on with the product as I have so far. Still, reaching the end of the 16 weeks is a pretty cool milestone. So where am I, with one week left?

2.8 pounds down, for a total of 65.2 pounds lost.

I'm probably not going to hit my lately formed ambitious goal of 70 pounds down by the end of the program. I would need to lose almost 5 pounds this week, and I don't know if I can do that in a healthy manner. So instead I'm going to bask in my success for this week, continue to lose (if I can get 3 more pounds off this week, I'll be happy) and hit the next portion of the program running. Well, jogging. Okay, I'll still be walking, but it'll be the 5K walk three times a week that I've been doing for two weeks now. There's just over 31 weeks left in the year. Can I get down to 210 by 2013? Quite possibly. Am I going to shoot for it? Hell yes.

Next week will be my last regular update on the program. I will give periodic updates afterward, but I'll probably stop using the Kaiser weigh-in and focus more on my home scale.