They liked me so much, they got me a ROCK!

Painted image copyright this person whose real name I don't know, although if you have a burning desire to make a copy just copy the thing it's based on, honestly.
This past weekend was King and Queens Arts and Sciences championships in Mt. Kisco, NY.  I had entered it two years ago when this research was in a much, er, less tasty state, and I was still figuring out some of the process details.  There were ~40 entrants, and, as I did two years ago, I made the second round of judging, but did not win, which is totally fine.  I love these events because A&S is the thing I like the most about the SCA, and the best of SCA A&S is on display there.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to dig into the other entrants as much as I would have liked to because I got to talk to so many people!

A neat thing happened there: I apprenticed to Magnús, which in SCA land means something like "we're officially science-friends."  This is cool because it means I get to bug him with questions more than usual before he starts complaining.

I also got an award at the event which is really meaningful to me: a Maunche, which is for doing a lot of cool A&S stuff.  I guess I've done a lot of cool A&S stuff now.

It's tradition to get a "scroll" for each award you get.  Apparently it was decided that I would get this scroll back in September,1 and my friends decided that a parchment scroll would be lovely but that they could do better - my persona is approximately viking after all.  So my friend Vika wrote a very nice praise poem in Kviðuháttr meter, which Magnús transliterated into runes and Feilinn painted them on a rock.  This is awesome and I'm floored.

The rock includes slightly modified images from the Stora Hammars I picture stone:
Copyright Wikipedia user Berig, CC By-SA 3.0 and GNU FDL
A different nearby stone depicts Odin as a raven stealing mead and this is amazing.

I didn't really brew anything you haven't seen before, (well, except for the millet wine which you can read more about here - it wound up being pretty standard) but I'm gradually refining my technique.  I brought three wines:

  1. The headliner, Rice Wine à la Yuan Pushe (YE1W2).  This is the steam-and-pour-over rice wine that has become dependable for me.  Still sour, but not bad.  I actually enjoyed drinking this one.
  2. YE2W1, a boiled millet wine.  I'm getting better results gradually, but something is still really wrong with my millet processing.
  3. YE3L1, the non-glutinous rice short wine I made at Pennsic.  Producing this to hit a specific date is a PAIN, and I went back and forth between "oh no I'm far too late" and "oh no I'm far too early."  I wound up being perhaps a day early - it was less sweet than I wanted.
One thing I was proudest of was my documentation.  Of course, I have access to sources that nobody else is using, which is great, but I spent a lot of time writing, and got a lot of help editing, so that it's clear what my thought process is and how it led me to the conclusions I reached.

Take a look!  Please let me know if you find it helpful, or if you think there is something I can improve on for next time.

I also thought my display worked well.  I took heavy advantage of my work-sponsored trip to Japan and brought back pottery, lacquerware and some textiles which I had bought specifically for this purpose.

Photo copyright Dayna Tarabar, used with permission

Left-to-right on the tray I had the millet wine, the rice wine, and the short-wine.  In front I have the yeast cake, millet, sticky rice, soaking rice, cooked rice, and unpressed short-wine.  This way, I was able to give a good overview of all the steps in the process.  I also had a flask of water for rinsing.  The tablecloth is a somewhat-accurate reproduction of an 8th century textile held in Japan.

1. This is a "kingdom-level" award, so it's decided by the King and Queen, who rule for 6 months, and made their decisions early on in Their reigns.  Then comes the business of finding the right event to give it to the person, with as many of their friends there as possible, without actually telling them ahead of time.  It takes a ton of back-channel communication, but the effect is tremendous, and the recipient's friends get to giggle about the surprise in private for a good long time.

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  1. We did get to giggle about this for a long time. The anticipation was so much fun! Such a fun secret!


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