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Bill Sutton
19 December 2017 @ 11:17 am
It's an odd year. Certainly this is the warmest December since moving to Indiana (and the irony of Atlanta getting 6" of snow when we haven't had enough to show a rabbit's tracks yet is neither lost on me nor pleasant). We were late getting decorations up due to weekends spent doing other things - fun things, but we're still putting up lights and just now getting the tree decorated.

I am missing the Winter Solstice celebration at UUI this year due to other commitments, and the final shopping days before family arrive have rather snuck up on us. So, not feeling the season in spite of starting the holiday music early at my desk (and discovering new carols for Solstice that make my heart sing!)

But my father is in town and is as sharp as he has been in quite some time (and even moving around better for given values of "feet not always working as well as he would like), and we're expecting the kids to be here in a few days (and I continue to boo retail for not being able to have all of them here). As always, the brightest spot in all things is you - my friends and chosen family in SF fandom, filk, SCA, UU community, and so many other places. You make every day a joy, and here is my annual wish for you (again acknowledging the final polish given to it by Callie - whom I do not have a Dreamwidth account name for so I cannot tag her this year):

- as the sun increases, so may your joys increase.
- as the nights become shorter, so may your sorrows shrink.
- as those you love surround you, feel my love there as well.
- may you be blessed by your Gods, be they within or without.
- may all your dearest dreams come to you in time.

Joyous Yule, Merry Christmas, Blessed Hanukkah, Happy Dong Zhi, and an Inspirational Kwanzaa to you all. May the best of this year follow you into the next.

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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Bill Sutton
01 November 2017 @ 12:00 pm
  • Tue, 19:24: Sabonis already 6 pts 9 rebs 7+ minutes into the game.
  • Tue, 19:33: Umm... Dipo, wow.
  • Tue, 19:49: Costume winner so far is the Pacemate wearing the Flint Tropics Jackie Moon jersey.
  • Tue, 20:02: Battle Of The Bogdos!
Bill Sutton
30 October 2017 @ 12:00 pm
Bill Sutton
19 October 2017 @ 12:00 pm
Bill Sutton
11 October 2017 @ 12:00 pm
Bill Sutton
25 September 2017 @ 03:11 pm
Here's the poem I have been working on, now that I have had a chance to present it to William and Isolde.
After the poem I have notes on the poetic structure and some analysis.

Yn Canmol William Ac Isolde
("In Praise Of William And Isolde")
A cywydd deuair hirion in cynghanedd groes

Midrealm people! Mead roy'lly
Flows in these halls. Fill as we
Praise battle arm, prize beauty.
William the Good - well you see
The Dragon Throne, though dear it
Cost in Will, Time. Cast on Wit,
Knit veiled tributes into view
Told of writ to laud virtue.
Singer of knights, song ever
Joyous to hear. Just to her:
Isolde inspires! As all dare
New fine feats, now fanfare,
Celebration! So labors she
Over chase of archery
Standard she set. Sought no door,
The fights rejoined though footsore.
Granters of rings! Grow new trust,
Aspire, add strides, spread stardust!
When same reign through, when somehow
Rune delivered - heir. And now,
Dandeli'n done dallying,
Tiger token of great king,
Rose down dais raised on high,
Will labors woo lullabye,
Sleep, true crowns. Seal poetry
Name more fame in memory.

-- Dafydd ap Hywel ap Madog Fychan, known as Dai Gerdwr



This is a praise poem as would typically have been written by a bard of the 14th/15th century in Wales. The specific examples of poems written by Iolo Goch and the poems of Gruffudd Llwyd written to Owain Glyndŵr serve as the prime inspiration for this poem.

Cywydd is Welsh alliterative poetry that consists of rhyming couplets wherein each line contains one of the defined forms of alliteration. Cywydd Deuair Hirion ("Poem of long couplets") is considered to be what is referenced when just the term cywydd is used and consists of rhyming couplets of seven syllables. In this form the rhymes must be between a stressed syllable on one line and an unstressed syllable on another line:

"Midrealm people! Mead roy'lly
Flows in these halls. Fill as we"

This rhyme scheme is fairly easy in Welsh as most multi-syllable words have their stress on the penultimate syllable and therefore can fit well into a couplet with a single-syllable word as the associated rhyme. It is not quite as easy in English...

Other forms of cywydd are Cywydd Deuair Fyrion ("Poem of short couplets") which consists of four syllables and does not require alliteration, and Cywydd Llosgyrnog ("Poem with tail rhymes") which is a complex form of 6 line stanzas of varying length with interlocking rhymes.

Cynghanedd ("harmony") refers to a number of schemes of alliteration. The most strict of these is cynghanedd groes ("cross harmony"), where the consonant sounds in the first half of the line must appear in the second half of the line in the same order and without interruption.

"Midrealm people! Mead roy'lly"

In its purest form, the alliteration is counted only from the beginning of the first stressed syllable. Examples seem to show that an ending consonant does not need to match because there is no stress following that syllable.

Other forms of cynghanedd include cynghanedd draws ("Oblique harmony"), where the alliteration may be interrupted, cynghanedd sain ("sound harmony"), where two words within the line rhyme and the second alliterates with (but does not rhyme with) the last word in the line, and cynghanedd lusg ("dragging harmony"), where the last syllable in the first half of the line rhymes with the next-to-last syllable of the line - which must be stressed.

(Sources: http://anitra.net/kalliope/welsh.html and http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=12138)


To be pure, this should have been written in Welsh. My Welsh is not at all up to anything beyond a "Goo Goo Gah Gah" poem, so that wasn't about to happen. Someday, perhaps.

Writing this in English meant making some decisions on the handling of "w" and "y" - in Welsh, these are always vowels while in English they can be considered a vowel in some cases and a consonant in others. I have tried to be consistent in usage such that if (for example) "y" is a consonant (as in "yes" or "you") in the first half of the line then it is used as such in the second half. This typically is the case when the y or w falls at the beginning of the word or syllable but not when it falls at the end.

English stress patterns on multi-syllable words can be wildly inconsistent and present problems when there is a primary stress and a secondary stress contained within the word. In almost all cases I have treated a secondary stress as unstressed. I justify this because in strict syllabic meter the secondary stress can be subsumed and spoke with small enough stress to fit the pattern. In the final couplet, I chose two multi-syllable words with a (primary)(unstress)(secondary) pattern. The image being too good to lose, I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which secondary stress can (or should) be emphasized to continue the proper pattern for the cywydd (personally, I choose "memory").

Finally, though it seems to have worked out properly for the most part, I did not strictly adhere to the alliteration surrounding the primary stress in the first half of the line being the start of the pattern for the second half of the line. This violation is most obvious when I separated a two-consonant combination into separate consonants or combined two into one ("Flows in these halls. Fill as we" - technically, the stress comes after the "l" in the first half but before it in the second half). It also appears when alliterating between an article and a full word ("The Dragon Throne, though dear it" should probably not alliterate on the th of "The" but it is somewhat rescued by "though" also being unstressed).

The inspiration for this poem was to honor the reign of William and Isolde, which was not just the first reign I observed in the SCA from tournament to coronation to the end but also has been inspiring in so many other ways. My initial challenge was to complete the poem prior to Midrealm Fall Coronation, AS LII. I accomplished this goal. I had set a secondary goal of creating a scroll to present to Their (now) Excellencies, but I was unable to accomplish that due to calligraphy and illumination skills which are not (yet) up to par for such a meaningful task.

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Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Bill Sutton
16 June 2017 @ 04:44 pm
One year ago this weekend is the one year anniversary of the contact with the SCA that got us started on the path. We'd known people in the SCA for decades and had even gone to an outdoor SF con/SCA crossover event, but never really latched on. It was mostly because everything we saw focused a lot on the fighting ... plus, the idea of outdoor activities in the summer in Atlanta was a non-starter. The SCA held their 50-Year celebration practically in our back yard, so we figured if they were going to THAT much trouble to suck us in, we'd give it a try. We found all the things we had been interested in but never quite knew the extent of. We went to the locally sponsored event a couple of weeks later and were hooked.

It seems appropriate at the end of a year to lay out what I found and what I'm hoping to continue with. These are in no particular order (some are finds and some are goals).
  • There are amazing people in the SCA. I'm a responsibility junkie and I know my kin when I see them. They are all over the place and at every level. Stuff gets done and it's fun.
  • I can do artistic things besides music. I still am stymied on calligraphy progress (I just can't get anything to look right), but - surprise! - I seem to actually be fairly good at the illumination side (at least, at a beginner level). Goal here - to develop two solid hands so that I can start contributing to scrolls.
  • Stabbing people is fun! I thought I would spend time doing all Arts and Sciences and Bardic and stuff, because heavy fighting just isn't my thing, but since Brenda had fencing experience in college and she wanted to try rapier out so have I. We both love it - it is physical enough to increase our desire to get back into shape, and it is providing a lot of goals for us to shoot for. We're aiming to get authorized by Pennsic so we can play in a crowd there. Getting our own kit will allow us to get to some of the smaller practices in the area where they don't have loaner gear. Having a wife willing to sew me decent rapier armor sure helps.
  • I have people to drink my beer. I had really cut back on brewing because the calories from drinking at home needed to get off my ... stomach. Now, though, I'm having trouble keeping up with the summer events. I'm hoping to brew beer for more activities as well as try to get to the point of competition brewing.
  • I need to really make sure my volunteering level doesn't drop as more activities crowd onto the list. Getting more familiar with typical timeframes - when are there breaks from certain activities, when are people needed to be there - will help. Finding ways to contribute at start and finish of events will help. One of my personal goals is to try to spend less time volunteering for things I don't like to do. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, but I have a personal problem with thinking I'm not working unless I hate what I'm doing. I've found a number of places I enjoy volunteering (gate in particular) and places I'd like to help with more if I could get the time from work (set-up, load in and out), and there are other areas (like field and consultation heraldry) that fall into that "doesn't feel like work - are they really volunteering?" area for me but that I want to do more of. I suspect this may be one of my biggest challenges in Year Two.
  • We are having a blast with the bardic folks. We hosted the first (hopefully semiannual) Slumber Bardy filled with lyric writing workshop goodness and are loving participating in the monthly gatherings. I'm geeking out over Welsh poetic forms and have a Major Project I need to get in gear and finish once my reference material arrives.
  • And Pennsic. Fulfilling Brenda's desire to camp with my desire not to spend more time setting up and tearing down than we do sleeping. I figure with 2 weeks, even given nocturnal revelry, we should be able to accomplish that. If the tent works as planned, of course...

In spite of the horror stories of bad experiences some have had, we so far have not run into a single garb snob or authenticity policeman - or, perhaps, the ones we HAVE met who keep such things at the top of their list seem to make comments in the spirit of contribution, not criticism. This may be because we have been around social awkwardness and one-ups-geek-ship for long enough that it fazes us less than it would were we in our teens or 20s.

This is a very general note, so I can't name everyone who has been an inspiration to me on these first steps. Within the next few months, you should know who you are (if you don't already...) because ANOTHER goal is to get a small pewter casting shop set up so I can make tokens of appreciation to hand out.

Following that statement immediately with an exception (of course), I did want to record one specific set of experiences that are locked into my memory and will be part of the foundations of my future approach to the SCA. In Dr. Who fandom, everyone has "their Doctor" - not necessarily the first Dr. Who they saw, but the first one who really resonated with them (mine is Peter Davison. No, I'm not going to argue about it.) In my case, I can apply the concept to the monarchy of the Middle Kingdom during my first year. Attending my first crown tournament was an incredible experience, with every element my "as they should have been" heart could have imagined: chivalry, respect, honor, and inspiration. To watch this man and his consort through their time as tanist/a, including having the opportunity to just sit and sing rowdy songs, then to watch the joy they have brought to so many by the way they have conducted their courts and themselves once crowned, to find myself truly honored to be in their presence - how much greater an example of that feeling when the modern world melts away can you get? My path will be very different (I have no desire to fight for a crown and neither does my wife), but in every step I take I hope to bring the same attitude and obvious love of the Society and people around them. Waes hael, William and Isolde.

In other words, I think I've found an activity that is both an incentive to retire as soon as possible so I have more TIME and an incentive to keep working so I have more MONEY (Hey, swords ain't cheap, ya know...)

Seriously, thanks for existing, SCA. Thanks to those who founded it not having any idea what it would become a half-century later. Thanks to those who keep the dream. I intend to be around for a long time.

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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Bill Sutton
25 April 2017 @ 10:07 am
...though it affects people on the LJ side.

I'm planning on dropping friends from my LJ who crosspost from DW. That will mean I will be narrowing my LJ feed to those who only post on that side rather than on DW.

I am letting folks know because as I recall this will affect their ability to see anything I post that is friends-locked. I don't post much (if anything) friends-locked, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

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Current Mood: awakeawake
Bill Sutton
14 April 2017 @ 09:57 am
I turned off my automatic subscription for LJ today. What with various credits and shifts in the payment date I have almost a year left paid, so I'll continue reading it for those I don't have on my DW feed. After that, it will depend on who is still LJ-only.

Meanwhile, on the DW side, I am somewhat behind in "granting access" to folks because I'm still trying to remember who is who. It really doesn't matter because I made it a rule long ago not to "friends lock" anything because I treat everything I post as public anyway. That said, I may need a re-introduction to people whose LJ names I have forgotten over the years in order to make sure I have them on my feed.

And if anyone has links to sets of mood icons for DW I'd appreciate it - I'm bored with the current ones and miss my dragons.

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Current Mood: busybusy
Bill Sutton
10 April 2017 @ 10:27 am
I have disabled commenting on the LJ side, though I will keep the LJ account itself for the time being. My username is the same on the DW side.

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