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On Paragons of Virtue

Anyone who has spent some time around me at events knows that I can be full of laughter, joy, bad jokes and the odd shenanigans. More recently I have been using the term Paragon of Virtue as part of my schtick and like most things I do, it serves a few different purposes. I thought it time I shared my thoughts and intents here.

If you’ve spent some time at events with or around me, you may have heard me bantering to friends about being a Paragon of Virtue, and how respected Peers, Baronages and populace from all over the Kingdom have said the words “Amos is a Paragon of Virtue”. It normally ends up with a few laughs, and very occasionally a spit-take. But it has an origin and a purpose.

It originally started as a mental health aide. I spend a lot of time ribbing with good friends who can give as well as they can take and there is a time and a place for that in good fun, but I also noticed an increasing trend on myself to focus on self-depreciating humour, getting to levels where people would either take me seriously when I would attempt to make a negative joke about myself or I would start genuinely feeling that about myself.

So in light of this, I decided to look at myself, the SCA and see if I couldn’t come up with something new to joke about myself that wasn’t self-deprecating, or at least as self-deprecating and thus Amos as a Paragon of Virtue was born.

Like a lot of things I try to do, it hits many birds with one stone. Being called or self labeling as a Paragon of Virtue is obviously about as far from self depreciation as possible. It also forms a little bit of Satire on the SCA itself. One of the things I love about the SCA is the balance of serious and solemn moments and teaching vs the outright joy and fun of mischief and people getting up to all kinds of shenanigans. When we talk about Virtues in the SCA in my opinion we tend to drift too far into serious and solemn discussion and forget that we are supposed to be coming together for fun and shared love of what we do.

When people ask me about what Virtues I’m a Paragon of, I have a set of flippant answers, and more rarely some serious ones. In jest, I will talk about how Patience and Mercy are Virtues, and I inspire them frequently – in everyone who has an interaction with me. In seriousness, I will freely admit Paragon is too strong a term. I struggle with a positive self image of myself on the best of days. I don’t even believe I am a good person. I do believe I am a better person than I have been in the past and one of my core goals and values is to always attempt to be a better person.

In my eyes, that’s about the best I can expect to do.

There are many moral and social Virtues I believe I follow and can hopefully inspire in others, if not now then one day in the future.

I still have a bit of a tendency towards self-deprecating humour, and I struggle to accept compliments as anything more than flattery. These are my flaws that I am attempting to work on.

In the near short term, I will continue my Paragon of Virtue routine as long as it brings smiles and laughter to peoples faces and in turn puts one on mine. If you hear me saying it, please don’t think me any more arrogant or serious than I maybe – it is entirely in jest and with my tongue firmly in cheek.

In closing, I’ll leave a small piece of wisdom I was given:

Teach people how to treat you. If you can’t be bothered to say nice things about yourself, why should anyone else?

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A year in partial review (Part 2)

So this followup to my year in partial review for 2018 is much overdue, but I’ve felt the urge to write some more so I thought updating my website was a good place to start.

Following my previous set of adventures I travelled to Inter-College War (ICW). ICW isn’t normally my normal go-to event, for while I love hanging out with Collegians and have a carefully tailored reputation for mischief and chaos that would suggest ICW would be a perfect fit… it’s normally not for me. That said, in 2018, the Steward, Adeliz, is a friend and she managed to wrangle significant funding to bring over some superstars from the Kingdom of Artemesia. I drove over in two days, taking a local Collegian with me, staying along the pilgrims trail with Master James in what’s now the incipient Shire of Strathcorbie.

ICW was probably the first time in years I managed to sit down and hammer out attending class after class. Normally at teaching events I’m doing things, or hiding somewhere to relax and socialize with friends. Somehow I managed to relax, be social, do things and attend classes without feeling overburdened.

There was a touching moment at the event where Duke Timmur of Artemesia talked about energy, motivation and how people and events can refill your love and joy for the SCA and what we do. That event, the people I met, the things I learnt and the time I spent definitely refilled my cup, which at the time was starting to feel low. It’s an idea and concept I’ve kept with me and try to be mindful of in my dealings with others.

Shortly after returning from ICW, I was back travelling up to St Florians for Midwinter. Midwinter was my first Drakey feast, my first St Florian event and I had an absolute blast. I flew up this time, as I wasn’t able to justify the 4 days driving for a 2 day event. I spent the Saturday doing some A&S research, catching up with friends and enjoying the atmosphere of the event and of course, the feast. Seriously, some amazing food was served that night, but the highlight that sticks in my mind is still the honey truffle butter.

The Sunday of Midwinter was a tournament day, I spent some time fighting in the Roses tournament on the Rapier field. I didn’t manage to perform all that well, but I had a lot of fun fighting some new-to-me fighters, which made it worthwhile. Compared to my other trips, it was really zoom in, zoom out, but it was a worthwhile experience for me and a really enjoyable weekend away.

My next big outing was a local one, where I was one of the Stewards for Fields of Steel. Awesome fun. Read the blog.

Following a month or so after Fields of Steel, I packed my bus with Collegians and drove over to Krae Glas for Great Southern Gathering. GSG is one of my favourite events. It normally provides me a great chance to relax and unwind, learn a few things, and catch up with friends in a casual and laid back fashion. This GSG did not disappoint. It felt like hedonism to have a half filled dorm room with an ensuite at an SCA event and not be anyone important – but everyone was in the same boat. The site was host to amazing views that had me stopping and just looking over the hills, which is rare.

I managed to successfully play at one of my SCA hobbies of bringing weird alcohol to events and sharing with as many people as possible. I took a bottle of Crown Royal Maple to GSG and spent my evenings walking around telling people “it’s like pancakes and whiskey had a baby”. I got a few laughs which made it worthwhile. GSG continues to be one of my regular “will probably go to guaranteed” events.

Finally to cap off the year, I made my first trip down to Ynys Fawr for the Theatre of Food feast. In short, I was blown away. Not only by the friendliness and hospitality of Ynys Fawr, Her Exuberance for putting me up, and the love and passion the locals showed when going about the SCA, but the quality of the event itself. The food was amazing, multiple dishes, multiple profiles, moments that kept me guessing, moments that made me laugh. If it was just the food, it would have been enough.

But the pagentry, hall design and setup, the garden room, general atmosphere and the entertainment really sold the event. Being able to sit at a table with good friends, eating good food, being entertained by live historical music or other theatre… having paired wines and drinks to the dishes… seriously, I was amazed. I would go back in a heartbeat for an event like that, or anywhere in Lochac for that matter.

That largely wraps up my 2018 adventures. 2018 was a year I had set aside for a lot of SCA time and I wanted to revitalize my experience – so I travelled. I still have a few Baronies I’ve never been to that I intend to get to in coming years, I still have a number of larger annual events I haven’t tried yet that likewise, I want to try at least once. But I’m enjoying the journey to see and try all these experiences.

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