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Old Tired Squire In Action

Old Tired Squire In Action

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Conditioning, Part Deux

I must confess I have been less than faithful  to my conditioning goals the last few weeks.  Too little time and too little energy was my excuse.

This morning I kicked myself in the butt and made a change.  Not a drastic change - I got up at 5:30 instead of 6:00 a.m., but a change. Then, two laps of the neighborhood with HeavyHands for a nice, warm, cardio workout - not too light; not too heavy.

Followed up with a light breakfast (1 egg, over easy, on wheat toast) and getting the sleepy-head boys up while getting ready for work.  All and all, a good start!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

I am striving as I write this account of my reentry into chivalric combat in the SCA to be as honest as possible about my progress.  And so I give you The Good, the Bad & the Ugly:

The Good:

I have had back-to-back great fighter practices; the first at Stargate practice on August 14, and the second at Gate's Edge practice last Sunday, August 21.

I had the opportunity to meet Duke Ulstead, Sir Alexis and Sir Ysfael at the Stargate practice, and Ulstead and Ysfael gave me practice [beat me like a rug].  Hopefully, I learned something.

Sir Godwin was also there with the Baronial loaner armor and he kindly allowed me to take [foisted it off on me] it home.  My assignment is to clean and repair what can be made useful and get rid of what is past its useful life. The upside is that I have something to fight in until I can finish my own stuff.

At the Gate's Edge Fighter Practice this last Sunday, I was able to spar with Ld. George de Breton (Sir Ulstead's squire), Squire Gregor Mac Beathain and Ld. Orin Ketilsson  (upcoming Stargate Knight's Marshal).  It was freaking hot, but I didn't pass out and hopefully some more learning will sink in.  (I'm old, but I'm trainable -- I hope).

The Bad:

I have a lot to re-learn and a lot to un-learn.  For one, I am no longer an average-to-above-average size fighter!  Losing 60 pounds has changed what I can (and hopefully could not) do on the field.


And now:

So, I have to (1) work on my footwork, (2) work on my hip snap (thinking Count Sir Simonn of Amber Isle) and (3) start thinking about fighter as a smaller than average fighter (see #2).  A lot to work on, but it should be fun.

The Ugly:

One of my faults is that I sometimes get impatient.  Not as bad as somebody at the King's Castle, but it happens.  It happened Sunday, in fact.

I went to Lowe's  and bought a half sheet of Birch plywood and some Titebond glue and came home and bent a shield blank.  I don' t have a press (yet) but I used the 30 gallon plastic barrel I got Saturday from a client and some racketing straps I had lying around the garage.  The result was not as good as I hoped (or as good as my last curved shield, back in the Dark Ages), but usable.

The first problem was that the Lowe's work who cut my half sheet in half apparently had the grain going the wrong direction.  The result was that the face cracked in two spots.  :-(

Second, because I was impatient and didn't wait until I had two barrels to use as forms, the lower (unsupported) part of the shield is shallower than the upper part.

Third, there were some voids in the glue on the edges because I did not have any C clamps to press them together (as in days of yore).  However, I applied glue to those spots and used wood screws to draw the layers together, so that should not be a major issue.

Also, I used wood screws and glue to mend the cracked spots the best I could.

 But what the heck, I was impatient!

My next try should be much better as I will either (1) wait until I get clamps and another 30 gallon barrel; or (2) wait until my oldest son's girlfriend's dad can help me build a proper shield press.

Did I mention that I sometimes get impatient???

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Update!

This random update is brought to you by BEER!  Not only does it taste good; it's good for you!
BEER!  Drink some today!

Also brought to you by Lee's imagination -- creating fantasies for over 50 years!


I had a brain drizzle (like a brainstorm, but not as intense) on the ride in to work today (I do some of my best thinking on my motorcycle).  Instead of using a tee shirt for the base of my Thrift Store Armor, why not use one of the long-sleeved shirts in my closet?  I mean, hopefully, my wife will never even notice that one is gone!  :-)

And so, voila!

The new victim!  I mean, donor...I mean...

Well, you know what I mean.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Making armor! (First Hardened Leather Project)

I started working on my demi-gauntlet tonight.  Nothing fancy; just water hardened leather over a pigskin glove.

We got yer basic construction paper template I made up tonight.  (Go ahead, laugh; but construction paper was what I could find).

Soaked the leather in cold water for 10 minutes and then dropped in hot 160-180 degrees until it started curling.  30 seconds more and I pulled it out.

Patted leather dry with paper towels and formed to back of hand over glove.

Then I strapped the leather down to my custom form:

Okay, it's really a free beer glass from Buffalo Wild Wings, but it works!

More to follow...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Old Tired Squire's Thrift Store Armor Project, Part the First

I quickly found out at fighter practice (see previous post) that I REALLY need armor.  The loaner stuff was good (no real injuries) but I still picked up a multicolor bruise on my shoulder (which used to be covered in a thick gambeson and spaulders.  But my cash is low (I'm broke, but I'm not poor) and I want to do it myself.

Back in The Day, one could make carpet armor pretty cheaply and it was protective.  Hot, itchy and tacky, but protective and cheap.  :-)  What can I do today, that is as cheap and protective as carpet armor (and less unsightly).

And so begins the Old Tired Squire Thrift Store Armor Project.

My first prototype will be a poor squire's arming jack.  (I hope)


1 tee shirt from Goodwill thrift store......$1.99
1 men's belt from Goodwill................... $2.99
1 pair sweat pants from Goodwill           $3.99  (not period but cheap)

[After Sunday fighter practice]

Leather or shock cord lacing
Grommets from Tandy

[added 08/13/2011]

2 Leather bellies (seconds) from Tandy Leather Factory -- $20.00

So that's my material list.  From that I hope to get at least some useful armor.  Or, at the very least, experience in what does NOT work.  :-)


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ouch!!! (Or, First Fighter Practice in 20 Years)

That's right, gentle readers, ouch!!!  I got a bobo.  :-)

But the good news is (1) I didn't die in the heat, (2) the bruise was my only injury, and (3) I could get out of bed the next day.

My heartfelt thanks to Lord Georges le Breton for not hitting me harder, and to Lord Thorgard for helping me gear up in the loaner armor.

Next post -- Tired Old Squire's Thrift Store Armor Project.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Old Tired Squire Update

I haz rattan!  

Not enough, mind you, but I've built one sword (as soon as I get a basket hilt to put on it).  I bought a 9 foot shaft (Thank you, Sir Godwin), but after I gave one blank to my oldest son, and one to his best friend, I'm left with one 37 inch blank for myself.  Guess I need to buy more!  :-)

I continue in my conditioning -- I was at Stargate fighter practice Sunday.  Two and a half hours in the Houston heat (even if I couldn't fight).  And I'm up to two laps of the neighborhood with HeavyHands.

I had hoped to pick up some armor this weekend (and may yet), but I'm having to drop $1,300 on the family car to replace the A/C compressor, dryer and hoses.  Oof!  (But having reliable A/C again will be a good thing).

But, hey -- I still have my job and my health, so who's to complain?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spring Conditioning in Summer

I started conditioning for Legacy of the Lions tonight. Instead of coming home, putting my bike in the garage, and sitting down with a cold beer (St. Arnold's Summer Pils), I changed clothes and went walking with my old "Heavy Hands" weights. Then when I got home from walking I showered and had that Summer Pils. 

Okay, maybe not a radical change, but exercise is exercise!  :-)

Tomorrow, I'll add distance and keep upping the burn (so to speak).  Although in this part of the Ansteorran summer, it is more like upping the sweat. 

I'm really more interested in cardio, right now.  And the hand weights do help tone the upper body.  My biggest fear is that I'll get in armor, get all adrenalized, and push too hard, straining a tendon or something.  I didn't realise when I was a young-buck-sword-jock that it would be the joints that suffered the most as I got older.

Of course, I'm carrying about 60 pounds less fat around than I was "back in the day." 

This is me today: 

Me back then -- circa 1985 (on theleft in the herald's tabard):

Yeah, that guy:

Okay, back down, Harrison; it was joke!  Dont' sic your copyright lawyer goons on me!

Me today:  

My professional self.  Or this:

Me at our (former) office:

Or this, the motorcyclist me:

 Or my favorit, the Scout Leader of three sons me:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Search for Armor

As a returning fighter, I am in the process of looking for "new" armor to protect my poor body.  I got some good ideas from sites on the web:
But I'm very picky about stuff I'm going to get hit in and I like to touch and feel it, so I put the following message up on the Facebook page of the Barony of the Stargate:
My Dear Fellow Stargate Residents:

After some 17 years out of harness, I am in the hunt for some good, usable munitions-grade armor. All I have at this time is a protective cup. :-)

Does anyone have some serviceable armor they would like to sell (cheap)? I thought I might put this out on the Stargate listserve and here before either (1) ordering new stuff, or (2) trying to cobble together my own setup (which is my eventual goal).

For sizing, I'm about 5' 10 1/2" tall and 185 pounds. Right hander.

I am also in the market for sword rattan and a good basket hilt.

Thanks in advance.

Lord Leif Wadason, (Old Tired) Squire to Sir Karl der Gaenger

The good news is that I've had four responses so far.  The bad news is that armor is so freaking expensive! 

I had always hoped that if I tried to start fighting again, I'd have enough money to buy the good stuff.  If forgot to factor in three sons, two dogs and two cats, all of which seem to suck all the money my wife and I earn.  :-)  Come to think of it, that's why I ride a 10-year old motorcycle!

One set was already assembled and from Stonekeep Armoury.  Nice looking stainless and leather with Kydex splints.  Problem is, we're talking $600 here!

The other set was unassembled and from Illusion Amory.  That is REALLY nice stuff!  But even more expensive than Stonekeep. 

I hope that I can still strike a deal with one of our local knights for the gear he bought for his son, but which never got used.  But I'm still feeling sticker shock. And I'd hate to spend too much money and then find my poor body can't take heavy weapons any more! 

The long term plan is to build my own, but that may take longer than I want right now.  In the meantime, I'm wistfully remembering the "old days" of carpet armor when I was considered "progressive" for wearing a gambeson. 


Friday, July 15, 2011

Old Tired Squire Returns!


(Cut!!  Wrong promo!!!  From the top!)


These are the annals of Lord Leif Wadason, Old Tired Squire of Sir Karl der Gaenger of Ansteorra.  Follow Leif as he attempts to rejoin the fighters of the Ansteorran heavy list and regain the fighting prowess of his youth.  (Or something like that).

Can he do it?  Can the wisdom of age overcome the frailties of the body and the inevitable toll of time? Follow, and find out!



This blog may contain humor, attempted humor, poorly attempted humor, sarcasm, irony and other things difficult for the weak of mind or stomach.  It also contains ME!  Be forewarned.

This blog will NOT contain modern politics, current events, or anything regarding Casey Anthony, Barack Obama, Justin Beiber, Lady GaGa or any other modern annoyances.  "If that's what you're looking for, they've got what you're looking for" here --

Also, this is not my legal blog because Leif is not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice!  Lee, however, is licensed as an attorney in the mundane State of Texas and can be found here:  @bizlawyertexas