jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Headshot)
There's a saying, "All Good Things Must Come to An End"...

I've always felt that phrase was trite and sometimes even selfish. In this case, I find myself choking on it because it applies to me.

For over 22 years (since 1991 in the MidRealm), fencing and rapier combat has been woven deeply into the fiber of my being. I've fought at the highest levels in the Society for Creative Anachronism, taught at 5 Known World Academies of the Rapier (and countless events), championed the introduction of new weapons and rules, done demos for thousands and led units in SCA wars with hundreds of my companions. Contrary to some, it was never about recognitions or awards or scarves... Throughout it all, I've fought for the sheer joy of the competition and proving my skills on the field.

For the past few years, I've come out less and less to play. I've still felt the love for the tourney and the challenge of facing opponents, but my body's been telling me otherwise. I've got to finally listen to it. Some of you know that my right hand was badly hurt by a former student over 7 years ago. While I've come back from many injuries on the field, that injury caused significant nerve damage to my sword hand. Every day since then, I've been dealing with constant pain. Some days it's been better, some days worse, but always constant. While pushing through the pain works for a while, that has also caused the nerve to be pinched and occasional loss of feeling or numbness in my right hand. Imagine fighting at speed and suddenly the blade you think is in your grasp is clattering across the ground. Not good.

I'd be lying through my teeth if I said this doesn't scare the Hell out of me. It's been a major reason behind my lack of recent participation. I can't begin to describe how heartbreaking its felt. The last thing I want to do is to face an opponent, a friend or a newcomer to this game and due to a moment of numbness in the fingers, lose control of my blade at tourney speed and hurt them. I don't want to cause an injury potentially as severely as the ones I was dealt. Given that, it's hard to step onto the tourney or melee field with that haunting my thoughts.

So here it is...

As I choke back the tears, I have decided after 22 years of competition to step away from tourney and melee rapier combat in the SCA. I can and will still teach and spar at lower speeds of the training environment. I will also seek to marshal if my home kingdom will ever see fit to grant me a warrant. Perhaps I can also help here and there to recruit more people to play this game and feel the same joy that I've felt from it. While I don't discount the possibility of a doctor figuring out a way to fix my hand, for now and on my terms, I'm going to step away from the rapier field as a competitor.

It's been an honor to fight with so many of you.

Yours in truly humble service,

The Honorable Lord (HL) John James MacCrimmon
Companion of the Argent Rapier of Meridies
Order of the Duelist of Caid
Order of the Crossed Swords of Caid (x2)
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Headshot)
This is something I wrote in reply to an SCA-Snark post on another board. I'm copying my reply here because it stands to remind me and any of the SCA folks who still read this blog, of what we have, what's changed and why we (I) play.


Wow.. I had to read, re-read and then go through the comments. I didn't know whether to be angry, lament or laugh. Over 20 years of play (some very active and some not so much), I've seen much of what you mentioned and I think I understand what your point is.

We all play in the SCA. We play at costumes. We play at fighting styles. We play at creating objects. We play at creating a society (small "s" intended) that makes "The Dream" as we think it should be. Notice how many times I used "play" in this? I say play because we can't and don't want to recreate period accurately. "The Dream" is different for everyone.

We create a measure of fantasy in everything we do because the reality of some aspects of period would be horrifying. The Python's were right when they said "no-one expects the Inquisition.." Our Kingdoms, Barony's and Shires mirror our world now; our attitudes now and our circumstances now. The SCA has always been a haven for those of us either seeking to escape the mundane, or the excesses & the limitations of where and how we live. Yeah, sadly some people bring those attitudes or mindsets of the mundane world into the Society. Some kingdoms are known for the hedonism, some for the plastic personalities, some for the warmth. We try to recreate and enjoy in a measure that's not always equal.

The division between the fun mavens and the authenticity police was there 20 years ago when I first got my membership and will probably still be there in whatever incarnation the SCA becomes in 20 years hence. In a sense, that Yin and Yang has always fueled the Society and the creative tension that kept it growing. It fueled my participation in many respects. I've taught historical styles and techniques of fighting and tempered every lesson with the knowledge that if I taught it as the period fencing or weapons masters did, I would have permanently disabled or killed people even with tipped points and dulled blades. Sometimes we have to give ground from the authentic to have the fun.

We used to police our own but as we grew bigger and faster, we seem to have lost ourselves in the process. We forgot how to teach people we brought into the SCA. The comment made that the Society changed ten years ago is fairly accurate. That was when the BoD became very corporate. I petitioned and pleaded for greater transparency in the BoD member selection process then. It didn't happen. I was one of the folks heavily involved in the 4th peerage petition. It's slowly being killed by committee. On a personal sense, over 20 years, I've watched many undeserving but well connected people get rewards and recognitions, while I've seen just as many deserving individuals be ignored. I've seen personal vendettas and personal triumphs. That's just like life.. Just like the very real and very mundane world.

So why keep doing it?... If we mirror the mundane world in many of our behaviors, attitudes and faults, why do I personally keep putting on funny clothes and drag my ass out onto the field to fight? It's not the recognitions (after 20 years you'd think I'd have more)... It's not the clothes or position... It's the people, the friendships I've made and the sheer joy I get for playing. I can if only briefly, become another person, pit skill versus skill and believe that things can be better or different.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Just feel like it from time to time.

I keep telling myself and everyone else, I'm going to update more and life keeps jumping in front of traffic and I have to chase it down to keep it from getting hit by a bus.

Family - Chris is overseas visiting his mom and seems to be having fun. His grades came back and pretty much had straight A's for 7th grade. He's now gotten very tall for a 12 year old (5'7" already) and growing. He even has the wisps of a mustache. Brenna's home from college and working on a B average. Now we're trying to figure out how we're going to afford sophomore year. My step son Michael is also doing decently well too.

Work - there's too much of it? I'm apparently the go to person at my full time engineering job. Its scary when you consider that as a contractor in the place I work, I don't have the authority to tell anyone to do the stuff they need to do. When I don't come home brain drained from that, I either can look forward to a heaping helping of photography related work (catalog sets for small businesses or private requests). I took my assistant and well adopted daughter (for all practical purposes) out to a local rock show and showed her some of the finer techniques. The bands loved having two professionals shooting their gig. When not dealing with that job, I'm helping Tammy try to keep our sewing machine store afloat. Oh yeah, when BERNINA USA closed all their corporate stores, like hers, we were recruited to open it as a dealership. Yeah, we bought the store...

On another note, I've been increasing hearing the siren's call from California. Soft and steady but there none the less. Little things keep reminding me of the place and the people there. For example, two weeks ago a pair of F-16s came roaring over my house. I've not seen an F-16 in four years here, let alone two running in full afterburner. Reminded me of Edwards. Songs keep popping up on XM Satellite radio that are not part of the normal rotation. Even the insanely hot weather here now. It's a dry dusty heat.. Sound familiar? I won't even go into the dreams and visions. Too many people already question my sanity. I keep wondering if it's a sign of things to come or my past calling me back. Don't know... It's like lingering over an old photo. I have to live in the now while treasuring the good memories of then.

SCA - nada. I've effectively stopped playing in the past 6 months. Despite my best attempts to get motivated and go play, it's just not there. Either the weather thwarts my desire to go to events, or I'm dealing with work related scheduling issues (it hurts trying to be in three places at once), or I'm dealing with things at home. In each case, my motivator isn't powering up. I'm not going to fool myself and force the matter. I'm probably going to play at the edges for now and at least stay engaged but not be the active SCAdian I once was.

Misc. My Sony Alpha 350 is slowly giving up the ghost. Its got over 40,000 exposures run through it and some of the functions aren't working the greatest. Some of it can be fixed with a cleaning and service (which I'll do soonish) but much of it is wear and tear. I found a great deal through Amazon for one year no interest financing so I jumped on it and bought a new Sony A65 medium format digital camera. It is incredible. It's got the same incredible color as my old cameras but its faster and more sensitive in low light. I'm still learning its in's and out's but I'm a happy camper there.

There's a quick update. I'm not sure who's left out there beyond a few regular readers and several passers by. If it's any consolation, I do read through the friend list posts pretty much daily. I comment here and there where time and available brain cells still permit.
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - SCA Cavalier)
Anther friend here and in real life has died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Scott Jacqua (Don Njall) [livejournal.com profile] hagerson was a fencer, herald, blacksmith and archer, I met and became good friends with him and his wife Sandra in southern California (Caid). When I moved to Alabama, one of the first folks I knew in the region was Scott (he'd moved to Knoxville, TN the year before). Over the last year, he'd had several debilitating bouts with bronchitis and flu which weakened him.

Scott was a great friend and an advocate when I had few in Caid. He's been an amazing sounding board and offered excellent advice. I will sorely miss him.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
The last 3 months has been a welcome change and reprieve in my photo activities. Before shuttering the "Nature Photo of the Day (NPotD)" for a well deserved though unexpectedly long rest, I was getting seriously burnt out on the necessities of photo editing and tagging. As it was, that necessity played out earlier this month as well discovered someone had been stealing massive amounts content from the "AbandonedPlaces" community and posting it on their personal blog (with some credits) without permission. All the copyright tags were key in removing content.

I went in to do some substantial storing and editing in my filing system day before yesterday. I organize the various photo shoots by year, then by broad subject, then by individual shoot and store them all in an external drive after they're edited and published. This year's storage folder was filled with many modeling sessions, shows & events, family mayhem, nature images and more than a few abandoned site hunts. I realize I haven't posted as many of them here as I have to Facebook, but that's been the issue more of time available versus desire and content appropriateness versus prudish hosting services (PhotoFuckit). Several modeling sessions and events have been published exclusively over on my mature content location on FetLife (gasp and shock).

I'm still playing catch up on edits and posting. I likely will be for years to come I'm afraid. In recent shoots, I've been facing the prospect of having too many good images to weed through. There are worse situations I know. Because I'm my worst critic, I have taken to uploading modeling session pics to "Dropbox" and sending the model the link. Then I make them chose a percentage they want edited. Usually these correspond with images I'm selected and sometimes I'll add several more.

Because the photo studio and associated website are on hold due to the financial situation, I'm kinda vacillating on what to do and where to proceed. I have been enjoying the break, but I'm also afraid that if I put this aside for too long I won't return with any enthusiasm. While some will disagree with this, my experience with the SCA and being unable / unmotivated to return to play even in such friendly environs as here is concerning to me.

In any case, the coming year ought to be interesting photo wise.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
6. SCA – I’m failing utterly at my goal to return to play. I’ve now missed three events or demos I wanted to attend this summer. In retrospect, I know I missed them for damn good reasons, but I’m starting to feel a bit hypocritical. Sure, this was a chaotic summer… Yes, each event was in conflict with other activities (our move, a planned (paid) shoot, bad weather, and illness)… It’s still frustrating me. On one hand, I really like the SCA atmosphere here. It’s much slower paced and much more laid back than Caid. Even with that, I can’t seem to break out of the rut and get going. I can’t even manage to consistently get to practices... Again family commitments and Tammy’s medical issues are making going to anything hard. On the other hand, I will soon have easy access to all my camping gear, a functional workshop and sewing space in Tammy’s studio.

7. Work has another source of consternation. While I’m being paid and have done some work in my new assignment, I’m still waiting to have full access to the government computer system. Without that, I’m relegated to busy work which is not satisfying in the least bit. I’ve pinged my site lead and heard very little back. In an era where the government is cutting back, I’d rather be doing something to make me a ‘value-added’ contractor rather than being that guy they barely see (because he can’t log into their computer system).
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
This is where JJ sits down and finally plays catch up from last week and makes plans for the next few weeks ahead.

The Lancaster House
As noted very briefly, I have a new tenant in my house in Lancaster. She’s paid in the full security deposit and first month. This lady seems nice and very thoughtful. It’s nice having the income coming back in again. Now I can start catching up from the bills “Josephine” left me with. The final tally for the previous tenant was $5000 for the judgment, plus nearly $250 in unpaid utility bills, $300 for cleaning and $700+ in repairs. I’ve gotten none of it – yet. I’m going to go find the biggest, nastiest, most aggressive debt collector I can find.

The Huntsville House
Tammy and I have started seriously looking into moving. We’re looking at either getting into another rental or buying a place. I’m not entirely comfortable about buying given the instability in the contracting situation, but I know I don’t want to spend another year in our current place. The place we’re both the most interested in is a 3000 sq ft., 3 bedroom, 2 bath house a little further south of our place. We already know the bathrooms need to be enlarged (& modernized), carpet replaced in several areas, and we need to modify a room/garage into an additional bedroom. It certainly has the space plus some to spare. All told the house has 6 garage spaces (2 car detached garage, 2 car attached but remote entry, and 2 garages in the house with direct entry). The place has immense potential but will require substantial modifications and repairs.

Shows and Events
Last week was huge for the kids and I for events. Last Monday, Brenna and I drove down to Birmingham, to see, hear,.. experience Beats Antique live. About a week or two before the show, I contacted the group’s tour manager and asked if I could shoot the performance. They gave me an all access pass to photograph the show. I provided my ticket to [livejournal.com profile] leliel and [livejournal.com profile] sabre0link also joined us. Before it was over, I’d gotten over 800 images the camera. Without a doubt, it was one of the most amazing and incredible small venue acts. Zoe, David and Tommy are great people and I was very happy to work with them. If you happen to have the chance to go to one of their shows, GO!

On this past Saturday, Chris and I drove up to attend Iris Faire (SCA event) in the Nashville area. I didn’t quite know what we were driving into on many levels. The weather that had battered the region on Friday had spawned extremely high winds and more than a few funnel clouds. As we neared the event site west of Nashville, we saw damage and trees down everywhere off the sides of the road. As the very strong cold front was centered on central Tennessee, it stayed windy and very cold throughout the day. I was happy to chat with Don Njall and Lady Allesaundra at the event. I’m glad that I did, because he clued me in further on who the “former ex-” was who was spreading foul rumors – Vikki (my ex- student). More on that later in the notes.. I also learned that by some manner I’d offended or bothered someone at a previous event, so I sought out the right folks and made apologies and begged forgiveness. I still don’t entire know the what, when and how I did anything, but I felt awful that there was any misunderstanding.

Event wise, I fought in the rapier tourney for the Silver Iris. I lost my first bout because I was more than a bit distracted. After refocusing, I fought my way to the finals where I lost. After only one practice in four months, I felt slow and sloppy, but it was a great tourney none the less. I opted out of the second (“Poison Iris”) tourney and spent time with Chris so he could attend the Chainmaile class they were holding. It was a fun event.

We left the event around 3pm and drove back to Huntsville in order to attend the performance of April Smith and the Great Picture Show. The Huntsville Swing Dance Club brought April and her band into town for the first time since I had helped host her last year. The show had close to 100 in attendance and many of those folks danced during the three live sets. I was stunned when April publicly thanked me alongside the organizers of this show. She explained to me later that she really appreciated that I’d introduced her to Huntsville and the incredible art and music scene here. Sadly, don’t expect any photos from me from the show. The Swing Dance Club had already contracted a photographer and videographer, plus the show was at the Flying Monkey. Nuff said about that venue.

Photo stuff
This is going to be a very busy 30 to 45 days ahead. I have three or four model shoots coming up. Two are catalog sets, one is fetish and there’s a newcomer TF set. Sometime in May, I’m also trying to get a weekend trip to Gulfport so I can work with Doll again. Brenna graduates on the 20th of May and I expect to shoot a few frames of my daughter getting her diploma.

Perhaps the biggest photo event is coming up next week. I’ll be shooting as a staff photographer for Frolicon in Atlanta, this weekend. It looks like there’s at least 8 other photographers covering the event so this should be a bit less stressful / exhausting. As mentioned in the previous message about Frolicon, I guess I will let one other cat out of the bag. When I was originally offering my services to the staff, they asked if they could use one on my art photos for the event badge. If things have gone well, one of my photos and models will be seen and worn by all the attendees.
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - SCA Cavalier)
I’ve now taught at another event (Winter Collegium). I presented my melee philosophy class (KWAR 2006) to a very small audience. Most of the veterans that attended the event hung out and sparred rather than attended. I’m concerned about that. Melee wise, this Kingdom has some remarkably experienced fencers. The problem is most of that fighting experience equates to being in skirmish units versus line infantry. In simplest terms, they fight really well in small contingents but don’t appear to have the patience or experience (can’t tell which) to fight as large cohesive unit or army group. No insult intended. Some of these same veterans can’t understand why they keep getting run over by larger but less experienced forces. I wish I knew what to do to help, but motivation is a delicate thing. I finally find myself in a place where I’m appreciated and can make a difference. The question is how to do so with pushing too hard.

Oh while still on the topic of SCA, I’ve been sewing costume and garb again. One project I need to finish soon is near and dear to my heart, er head.. My cavalier hat. Folks, many in the Society know me for the fading, frayed, burned and worn cavalier hat I’ve worn of nearly 18 years. I got it from an incredible seamstress; though now, I can’t recall whether it was at the first KWAR in Tre Girt Sea (Chicago) or at my first An Tir 12th Night (‘94). It saw multiple events demos and more over those years. When I moved to Meridies, I wore it to several events but it was falling apart. This past fall, I bought fabric, stiffener and other supplies to make a replacement. To do this right, it meant taking apart the old hat to see how it was built. With a tear in one eye, I removed tattered feathers, cut away tokens and jewelry, then started ripping seams, pulling out bracings and carefully laying out the deeply worn or faded cloth which made me so recognizable. I now know what conservationists go through with historic costumes. Some pieces were very fragile.

I measured, cut and started piecing together a new version that would be true to the look, feel and character of my old one. Tammy added to my creation when found some Duponi silk that was nearly the same color as the old ‘red’ hat band. Slowly and patiently, I’ve built the new version. Another thing Tammy suggested was to take one piece of the old hat and include it in the new one to link the past and present. The top lining piece is the only one that had the physical integrity to be reused, so it was carefully washed, pressed and sewn in. The only thing that remains is to hand stitch the silk band and the hardware/jewelry that had been on the predecessor.
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - SCA Cavalier)
Went to Fighter Collegium and taught Spanish Circle today. Went to court and was the first person called up. I was recognized by my new kingdom and made a Companion of the Argent Rapier (CAR). It's this kingdom's entry level rapier award (like the Duelist in Caid) but carries no rank or precidence (read AoA). It was very pleasantly surprising. Feast was amazing afterwards.

Exhausted - bed

Added: The award is a significant badge of honor here and one I'll treasure. I recieved the arm band (a leather buckled strap with a simple argent crown embossed and painted) with a lineage and history.
jjmaccrimmon: (SCA Shield)
Meant to post something on Tuesday, but I hit a major case of writers block and a few too many distractions. I’m feeling a bit more composed today and will try to

SCA plans and activities
We made it to our first SCA event in some time this past Saturday. Royal University of Meridies (RUM) was interesting. RUM here is a Meridian ‘Kingdom’ level event where instructors teach classes on areas of specialty in various categories including: marshal, heraldic, costuming, dance, foods and such. In addition, there were areas set aside to teach youth oriented classes and for fighting.

Classes were good for the most part. Chris enjoyed his and Brenna was really getting into hers. I mainly hung close to the rapier area and listened into the Silver “English Sword” class while working with several fencers on Spanish. Got a compliment from the Silver instructor who said they used my info for a reference in several A&S papers. Tammy took a couple classes also but had to leave early in the first one following lunch as the intense heat & humidity got to her. She overheated and threw up. We packed up and left around 3pm.

Most of the courses were being taught outdoors, under day-shades. Folks, it was 96°F (36°C), with humidity around 65%+ and we had showers several times during the day. You could say here’s a small culture difference here between Caid and Meridies. In Caid, “Collegium Caidis” would have been held at a school campus (w/ Air Conditioning if necessary) in Spring or Fall. The thought is you’ll learn more in a comfortable setting. The prices of the two events seem to be about the same. The local RUMs tend to have feasts versus Caidan Collegums which are DIY for food. Different traditions and expectations influence the events here.

Overall, it was good to get out to the event and get to play. I have a better feel for the SCA here and the old frustrations didn't come to boil.
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Sloss Steam)
After a couple of personal brush fires (put out successfully), I had to take a couple days to get centered and refocused.

Toxic Personalities - observations
Contrary to what some may have thought, I have meant to write on this topic in respect to myself during a moment of self-depreciation and introspection. The thoughts that led me down this path made be consider more options and ideas. Self-reflection in the stoic or Taoist philosophy should lead the viewer to self-improvement in terms of the self image or relational / behavioral changes. It did and I can relate a bit of it now.

For the longest time I felt that I might be a so-called, “Toxic Personality.” I seem to have a habit of bringing out very strong emotional responses from some people. Others have gone so far as calling me a drama magnet (whore). I’m certainly one to speak of react from the heart, I’ve always been honest in it. Unfortunately it’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, I’d rather be up-front about things and sometimes even offer my side in public. It’s not been to stir the pot. On the other hand, I’ve been accused of being sneaky and manipulative when I have kept things in private. The biggest problem seems to be in the expectations that I should consciously or unconsciously know already what other people desire. That means either being reactive or omniscient.

Given my past and current conflicts, I don’t believe that I am myself a toxic personality. As I’ve read various definitions, articles and descriptions, toxic personalities, use others to unload their issue on and don’t care or don’t recognize the damage it does. I may speak from the heart, but I try hard not to vent the hurt, hate, frustration, or otherwise on others. I don’t start drama for its sake. I admit when I’ve made misstatements and mistakes, then I try to make amends. Not to be egotistical, but I know some people aren’t going to understand me or my motives. I accept that some people will see fault, flaw or maliciousness in my actions even when it isn’t the case. That’s human nature and can’t always be changed.

Peace offerings
It’s been a month since I made a surprise peace offering of abandoned site info to Angela. I’ve initiated no further contact and received none from her. I guess I’m not entirely surprised or upset. It took me over two years to even remotely consider contacting her again. The hurt went too deep for me for a long time. That certainly doesn’t diminish what happened nor make light what she may have gone through either. I can only say that I know I’ve overcome my bitterness completely. I can hope that she’s grown and been able to see how and where her actions (and the actions of others) affected things then and since. Some people have questioned why I even made a peace offering to begin with. Without continuing to point fingers, I felt it was the appropriate time.

SCA plans and activities
This weekend, we’re going to head to our first SCA event of the year, Royal University of Meridies. It should be a good event to learn new things and slowly work back into playing. If we can’t get back into participating in the Society a bit more this year, I may let the membership finally lapse. It’s not a political statement though I could easily note many areas the SCA has changed that I dislike; I simply haven’t had the drive, interest or willingness to get back out and actively participate. Why spend the money on supporting an organization I’m not doing anything in?.. Between career, family, shoots and weather, SCA hasn’t been capturing my attention. I suppose I can add certainly ghosts and bad experiences from Caid as things that have influenced my interest in participation as well. Fortunately most folks here are fun, good and honorable, if perhaps a bit hide-bound. They’ve helped me mellow my frustrations for lost opportunities. Five or ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable for me not to be at practice weekly and be dragging the family to at least two events a month. Anyhow, I’ll drag in the fencing bag tonight, clean and check gear; dig garb out from storage; and tomorrow head to the classes. I hope it’ll be fun.

Gulf Coast Shoot Redux
Two days ago, I made a last ditch attempt to contact the model I was supposed to shoot with a few weeks ago. To my very pleasant surprise, she replied back. Her computer had crashed and has only been checking messages and mail from limited resources. She was apologetic in the explanation. I now have her phone number and will give her a ring this weekend to discuss the options to reschedule. I have the feeling that I’ll have to make it a three day weekend, but this way I can plan for something.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Well I'm stuck in the road right now waiting for an answer to a question made to my management, so I have time to write a bit.

The trip has gone well thus far. I think the fact that I'm out here as a senior engineer and advisor to my branch manager should say loads. It doesn't mean that I'm not ready to come home soon.

A couple of days ago, I drove up to meet my old friend Chris Lett and her boyfriend Jamie. They are such a cute and happy couple. Christine is an old friend of mine from my more active SCA days. We decided to meet in Castle Rock as a good halfway point. They live north of Denver in one of the suburbs. It was nice getting to chat with her about her travels and old times.

Because we weren't meeting till late for dinner, I decided to drive up Colorado Hwy 83 versus Interstate 25. I'm happy with that choice as I enjoyed the scenery of the backroads. Turns out Co 83 is beautiful but a bit more developed than I'd hoped for (I was looking for abandoned places). On the way though I did find a hidden gem, Castlewood Canyon State Park. When I pulled in, I discovered the park was practically empty. The visitor center has been closed for months by the looks of it, a victim of the state budget crisis here. The park straddles a 100 to 120 foot (33 to 40m) deep natural, boulder filled gorge on Cherry Creek. Without people anywhere nearby, it was peacefully quiet and serene beauty of the site. I wasn't impressed by the park's designated overlooks so I took advantage of lack of people to climb out onto the cliff edges to photograph the natural beauty of the canyon. Yes I know I'm fearless/crazy, don't listen to rules but it was worth every moment of it. Life's meant to be an adventure and nature to be experienced. If I get time to go back, I'll hike down the trails and head to the bottom of the canyon to get closer pics of the creek.

More adventures await!
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
For those who don't know, I play in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). During my time in California, I counted this young woman as my friend. My son fought in and was her Champion (in youth combat). This spring Duchess Kolfinna ("Kitty") fought along side me and the fencers of my adopted home of "The Kingdom of Meridies" at the recent Gulf Wars event in Mississippi. Long before becoming a knight in the SCA, Sir Kolfinna got her start in martial activites on the rapier field.

In sadness,

HL John James MacCrimmon

Forwarded by request

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Lorissa (Lora) <lorissais@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Please cross post:

It is with deep regret and much sorrow that after getting permission
from Sven, I pass on that Duchess Kolfinna will loose her brave fight
with H1N1 today, October 1st, 2009. We all feel a great loss but
Kolfinna's family asks that her friends refrain from coming up to the
hospital. There will be a memorial at Great Western War and there will
be more information on that and final arrangements posted on the
website later http://www.kolfinna.sca-caid.org/

Thank you

Viscountess Lorissa du Griffin, OP

Chamberlain to TRMs Edward II & Mora II

King & Queen of Caid
jjmaccrimmon: (SCA Shield)
As mentioned in [livejournal.com profile] esprix's post (http://community.livejournal.com/sca/736913.html) writing awards recommendation letters isn't that hard. When looked at with humor, it can be downright fun. This is a guide I wrote for my old fencing company in Caid. Though slanted to that kingdom, the principles apply everywhere. I'm posting it here in text form because it wouldn't fit as a reply to Esprix's post.

Award Writing & Recommendations 101

Have you ever watched someone bust his or her tail working at some event, completed an endeavor or project that has benefited the Kingdom, the local Shire/Barony or enhanced your personal experience in the SCA? Rather than bask in the afterglow of their deeds, you decide to suggest they be rewarded, but don’t know where or how to start? Not everyone knows how to do this correctly or effectively.

There are a couple simple steps to getting the Crown to award/reward someone for a deed well done. Some of it requires a little basic research about your candidate. Some of it requires matching up the appropriate award with the deeds of services accomplished. The last part requires writing the Crown in a manner that they will clearly see the need to reward the candidate.

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jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Proof that Huntsville is a great place to live.

Well it’s been a bit over a week since my epiphany about Angie. Since that post, I discovered that apparently there were still people watching my LJ on someone’s behalf. All points considering, I don’t care. I’m over it and much happier with that in mind.

Photography – woah
Three shoots and one show over an eight day period actually wore me out for a day or two.
* Horror shoot with a husband and wife team (ala Silent Hill)
* Gothic Lolita shoot with “Lolly”
* Asylum Themed shoot with “Victorian Mourning”
* Posey Peep Show (surprised to see Imp)
* Prior to that, I had two steampunk gatherings (The Clockwork Cotillion and the Birmingham meet)

This weekend is the monthly SWYD show and subsequent photography that goes with it.
I’ve been discussing shooting opportunities two other young women on theme and styles to do.

Oh I finally ordered new business cards for the photography activity. New design but they look tremendous.

Request for my Birmingham friends
The young lady I photographed this past Sunday has touched a compassionate nerve in me. For all practical purposes, she’s living out of her boyfriend’s car. At 19, she’s gainfully employed though doesn’t make enough to rent a place on her own and even with roommates, it might be a stretch. She seems conscientious, smart and very creative costumer but simply can’t find work that pays well enough to go to college or to get a full time roof over her head and a bed of her own. My question to the Birmingham crew is this, if you have a spare room and could handle a boarder for limited rent or have miscellaneous creative/costuming work that she could do please get in touch with me and I’ll put you in touch. I’d offer to put her up myself, but her current job’s in Birmingham. as is her boyfriend. I’ve got a full house and a girlfriend who might not feel it appropriate.

Medical goodies for photography
Props and settings for shoots can be a challenge. Some items you can create. Some you can modify into an acceptable replica. Some items you simply can’t find, recreate or rent. Medical furniture and props fall into this category. In this, I’ve hit upon a treasure trove. Recently the owner of one of the sites I use for photography has given me permission to remove and keep a cache you goodies. I now have, an examination table, a hospital side table, a surgical gurney, a working 300 watt surgical/exam light (cool blue color), an orthopedic traction chair, rolling & hanging IV stands, monitors, and much more. Most all of this is stuff is in great shape and I can see multiple settings or scenes in which it could be used. My more fetish inclined friends and associations will also see all manner of implications.

SCA – still not hitting many events
Where one set of activities are active, another must remain dormant. Due to a little medical issue over the past few months, I’d been holding off on SCA. Without going into a large amount of gory detail, I got to deal with a bruised kidney which became a kidney infection, which resulted in me dropping a kidney stone last month. Needless to say, this put a damper on my workouts and on my willingness to do any physical or SCA activity. I’m still a bit tired from much of this but trying to get active.

I want to get back into the SCA stuff here and make it to events, but I’m finding that available time, personal situations, hot weather and shifting interests is keeping me from really getting back into things. I think the biggest issue is motivation or lack of for the SCA. Much I hate to say it, but my enthusiasm for the Society is tempered by my Caidan disappointments. I remind myself that these are (very) different people and the majority are genuinely very nice people. I haven’t been able to recapture the fire that was once in me to do more and try again. Forcing it won’t help and I’m keeping the pace slow and slowly restoring the reservoirs of goodwill, energy and commitment. Until the enthusiasm level comes up on my part, I’ll continue contributing through the communities I manage and organizing where and what I can.

My children
I got to chat with Brenna and Chris over the phone on Father’s Day which was very pleasant. I miss them both and am looking forward to them being back in a bit over a week. They told me about several of their trips and things they’d picked up. I can’t wait to hear the tales and see the photos.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
This week has been a freakin rollercoaster. I really am starting to wonder where my spare time is disappearing to. This past weekend, the family and my friend Heather [livejournal.com profile] e_phemera packed into the car after work Friday evening to drive down to Birmingham, AL. The goal was Imagicon 2009 and more particularly the Friday Sleep When You’re Dead” show. Despite a comedic episode at an Arby’s (fast-food shop) on the relatively peaceful drive down, we managed to find the hotel and Con site without much fuss. Why ‘comedic’ you might ask? The person taking our order couldn’t get anything right and eventually simply stopped talking to us over the remote microphone. We drove up to the window and made the manager take the order all over.

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jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
We took a little family jaunt down to Southern Mississippi this past weekend
the SCA’s “southern war.” Gulf Wars for those not familiar with the
Society for Creative Anachronism, is a wonderful excuse for 3000 to 4000
people to converge on a site about 60 miles northeast of New Orleans to
socialize, learn, shop and fight in tournaments and large scale melees.
This was a “war” event or “inter-kingdom’ event so there were
representatives from across the SCA (worldwide) but the main attendance was
by people from the southern and eastern USA. To note, normally SCA events
are held to cater to a local or kingdom (regional) level audience. Events
are typically done on a theme and may have archery, arts and crafts
competitions, tournament combat in various weapons forms, feawsting and
carousing. Having lived in the ”Kingdom of
the past 8 years, most events are day trip arrangments. In ”The Kingdom of Meridies” (where we now
live), camping is the norm for events.

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News Flash

Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:52 pm
jjmaccrimmon: (SCA Shield)
Just to let everyone know, we made it back from Gulf Wars (SCA event) alive and well. We had a great time. More tomorrow.
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Spring has sprung and time for fun. So would be the thoughts for this weekend past and today’s mayhem!.

Just another day? Oh no - birthday photos hiding) )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Yes boys and girls, An open post. Today represents the first full day of the 44th year of my life. I’m another year older, wiser and perhaps a bit worn; but also hopeful and much more relaxed. Changes have occurred across the board.

Just another day? )


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