jducoeur: (Default)
Busy with many things (today focused on The OP Compiler Project), so I haven't written up much about Pennsic yet. But a few memorable moments, while I think of them:

Ajax' Knighting -- *quite* the todo. I don't think I've ever seen an award ceremony show up on the main Pennsic Events Schedule before. (I missed the first few minutes, which I gather means that I missed a bunch of sponsors, but was there for most of it.) His chain, with links from each Knight who visiting his vigil, was the longest I've ever seen -- more a baldric than a chain. The carved stone (marble?) "scroll" looked magnificently right.

Gate Duty -- [livejournal.com profile] tpau finally prevailed on me to do a shift at Troll with her mid-week; since I wasn't doing anything important the next night, I did another myself. By that point (after most people had arrived), it was pretty relaxing, a nice change of pace from War Week. One or two minor crises that I got to help resolve, but I was generally impressed by the new checkin system. (And not a little surprised: as first releases go, it's better than most. And the debacle on the second day of War turned out to have little to do with the new software.)

Quarriors -- once again, I was a bad Laurel, and did nothing to teach period games to the camp. Instead, I happened to pick up a set of Quarriors, which I'd noticed at Origins last year, and had been meaning to investigate. I had mainly intended to get it for home (it's a lot like Dominion, but with dice instead of cards, so theoretically should be easier on Kate's hands), but the kids in camp discovered it and fell utterly in love with it. I'd originally tried to require that an adult be playing with them (the game has 100+ custom dice, which I really didn't want to lose), but they wanted to play almost constantly, so I gave up. They proved to be reasonably responsible, fortunately -- most of them were good about putting everything away each time, and didn't lose any dice in the mud.

Mud -- in the grand scheme of things this wasn't a bad Pennsic, but we had a bunch of damp days. A couple of fine downpours, and apparently a really serious Act of God the first weekend. (I heard tales of lightning arcing around the campsite.)
jducoeur: (Default)
As most of you knew or might have guessed, I've been largely offline for the past week because I was off at Pennsic. I'm now home, unloaded, and more unpacked than I ever achieved last year. So over the next few days, I'll be posting various reminiscences.

To start off, let's deal with this business card that I've had sitting in my pouch since mid-week. Sadly, I mostly missed this year's A&S display, because I simply forgot about it until it was almost over. But fortunately, I got there in time to spend a good ten minutes looking over The Bomticc Tapestry, and chatting a little with the embroiderer, Lady Jadwiga Wlodzislawska.

The thing is large -- the individual panel pictures don't really convey it, but this photo gives you a sense -- because it has so much to say. It is the history of the SCA done in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry, with one panel per year. The embroidery is pretty, but more than that, as a work of SCA culture it is really neat. I recommend actually digging through the individual pages, each of which is footnoted with some description of why it has the emblems it does -- it's a fine mnemonic, and I learned a bunch from it.

It's by no means complete: she's been working on it for some years now, and so far is through AS XXVI, a bit over halfway the project. I quite look forward to checking in in a few years, and seeing what she's added...
jducoeur: (Default)
So this Pennsic was unusually dominated by All Things Medical -- not for any bad reason, simply because it's [livejournal.com profile] unicornpearlz' specialty, and we spent a bunch of time talking about it. And so, after dropping her off for the second run of her Overview of 16th Century Medicine class, I found myself thinking about the humors.

You know about the humors -- the period notion that all things are some combination of hot and cold, wet and dry, and that balancing the humors is crucial to proper health. In period, many of the cookbooks talk about these characteristics of the dishes therein, and how they may thereby be used for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, there isn't much period cooking at Pennsic. So I ruminated on what foods I should be eating at Pennsic in order to properly balance my humors. After a few minutes' thought, I came up with what I believe is a reasonably canonical list of the four purest options:

Gatorade: which is cold and wet.
Whiskey: which is, of course, hot and wet.
Chocolate: which is cold and dry. (Unless it is melted, in which case it is hot and wet, but whiskey still wins there.)
And finally, Bacon: the most perfect food that is hot and dry. (When correctly made.)

So it is that, by the proper application of these foods, we may keep ourselves healthy at Pennsic. For instance, when a fighter walks off the field, overheated and parched, we feed them Gatorade. Or when we wake up, cold and clammy from the night's dew, a suitable amount of Bacon (say, six slices) will balance our humors nicely. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to fill in the best uses of the other foods.

And so, good gentles, remember to stock properly when preparing for the War. Other foods are optional, but these four should be part of any careful plan...
jducoeur: (Default)
So this Pennsic was unusually dominated by All Things Medical -- not for any bad reason, simply because it's [livejournal.com profile] unicornpearlz' specialty, and we spent a bunch of time talking about it. And so, after dropping her off for the second run of her Overview of 16th Century Medicine class, I found myself thinking about the humors.

You know about the humors -- the period notion that all things are some combination of hot and cold, wet and dry, and that balancing the humors is crucial to proper health. In period, many of the cookbooks talk about these characteristics of the dishes therein, and how they may thereby be used for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, there isn't much period cooking at Pennsic. So I ruminated on what foods I should be eating at Pennsic in order to properly balance my humors. After a few minutes' thought, I came up with what I believe is a reasonably canonical list of the four purest options:

Gatorade: which is cold and wet.
Whiskey: which is, of course, hot and wet.
Chocolate: which is cold and dry. (Unless it is melted, in which case it is hot and wet, but whiskey still wins there.)
And finally, Bacon: the most perfect food that is hot and dry. (When correctly made.)

So it is that, by the proper application of these foods, we may keep ourselves healthy at Pennsic. For instance, when a fighter walks off the field, overheated and parched, we feed them Gatorade. Or when we wake up, cold and clammy from the night's dew, a suitable amount of Bacon (say, six slices) will balance our humors nicely. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to fill in the best uses of the other foods.

And so, good gentles, remember to stock properly when preparing for the War. Other foods are optional, but these four should be part of any careful plan...
jducoeur: (Default)
[I attempted to post this from my phone on Thursday night. That original attempt was apparently eaten, so I'm reconstructing it from memory. Pretend that it's last Thursday. Warning: this wasn't easy at the time, and it's not easy to write. Some moments at Pennsic follow the logic of dream and story, not that of ordinary reality; this was one.]

I just came from the Viking Ship Memorial, and her shield would not burn.

It was placed in the prow of the ship, laid on the deck, which was painted black to contrast the white bordures and frets. There were two, the one I had painted for her and one that someone else had donated (I still do not know who). Mine was at the very front of the ship and the other right behind, with dozens of other memorials flanking the ship behind.

We lit the wicks, a dozen or so of us bereaved, and the carefully-constructed ship was placed in the water, quickly blazing as the ship itself and the shields on the side all caught. Yet hers did not burn.

Gutted from the center, the ship listed and fell onto its side, the fire continuing for ten more minutes. Yet that fire came nowhere near her.

The fires doused by the lake, the remaining ship was lifted out and brought to La Familia, to place in its great bonfire. The deck was almost entirely gone, and yet her shield still gleamed, its rich red, white and gold as yet untouched on a tiny spur of remaining wood up top.

The remainder of the ship went up in flames, rising ever higher -- and yet, the fire seemed to avoid her, working its way around that shield, still not even looking singed as the rest blackened.

And finally, only when all else had gone up, and flames were rising feet into the air, did I finally lose sight of that bright heraldry, surrendering only when the rest of the job was properly complete, and well overseen -- a more singularly appropriate memorial than any would have expected...
jducoeur: (Default)
[I attempted to post this from my phone on Thursday night. That original attempt was apparently eaten, so I'm reconstructing it from memory. Pretend that it's last Thursday. Warning: this wasn't easy at the time, and it's not easy to write. Some moments at Pennsic follow the logic of dream and story, not that of ordinary reality; this was one.]

I just came from the Viking Ship Memorial, and her shield would not burn.

It was placed in the prow of the ship, laid on the deck, which was painted black to contrast the white bordures and frets. There were two, the one I had painted for her and one that someone else had donated (I still do not know who). Mine was at the very front of the ship and the other right behind, with dozens of other memorials flanking the ship behind.

We lit the wicks, a dozen or so of us bereaved, and the carefully-constructed ship was placed in the water, quickly blazing as the ship itself and the shields on the side all caught. Yet hers did not burn.

Gutted from the center, the ship listed and fell onto its side, the fire continuing for ten more minutes. Yet that fire came nowhere near her.

The fires doused by the lake, the remaining ship was lifted out and brought to La Familia, to place in its great bonfire. The deck was almost entirely gone, and yet her shield still gleamed, its rich red, white and gold as yet untouched on a tiny spur of remaining wood up top.

The remainder of the ship went up in flames, rising ever higher -- and yet, the fire seemed to avoid her, working its way around that shield, still not even looking singed as the rest blackened.

And finally, only when all else had gone up, and flames were rising feet into the air, did I finally lose sight of that bright heraldry, surrendering only when the rest of the job was properly complete, and well overseen -- a more singularly appropriate memorial than any would have expected...

Harfleur

Aug. 21st, 2010 02:24 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
This Pennsic was busy, hot, crazy and generally a lot of fun. But the moment that will probably stick with me most was one I was just a spectator for.

We were in the New New Woods this year; I heard a fair amount of grumbling about how dense and hilly they were, but they frankly reminded me a lot of the Old Old Woods. (Back in the day, I was a scout for the Barony-in-Exile of Branswatch, AKA the Filthy Greenshirts, so I have fond memories of woods battles.) I was hanging around the resurrection point for the second half of the Woods Battle -- we had a couple of sendings-to-vigil to do, so I needed to be around to herald.

Every 20 minutes or so, one or t'other of Their Majesties would get killed and sent back to the res point, deliver a rousing speech to the troops and plunge back into the fray. These did nothing but get bigger and more dramatic, urging the troops into one more push. (In the end, we won decisively, after one final push to get everyone back to the line and stop the Midrealm advance.)

And the result was closer to *living* a Shakespeare play than I've ever seen before. I was the audience, almost able to hear Henry's Chorus explaining the battle to me, apologizing for the fact that the battle was too large, too grand to show on this small stage. But the playwright substituted these moments, these invocations into battle, the stakes transmuted into speech, the few warriors visible to me representing the larger body off-stage doing the real work.

It's no surprise that Marguerite could give such great speeches, but it was also the moment when it seemed that Edward truly found his voice, letting his passion for the fight come through to the crowd. And the result sent a real chill through me. The SCA has rare moments where everything feels just a bit realer, where the membrane of time and circumstance between us and the periods we recreate becomes thin. This was the closest I've felt in some years...

Harfleur

Aug. 21st, 2010 02:24 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
This Pennsic was busy, hot, crazy and generally a lot of fun. But the moment that will probably stick with me most was one I was just a spectator for.

We were in the New New Woods this year; I heard a fair amount of grumbling about how dense and hilly they were, but they frankly reminded me a lot of the Old Old Woods. (Back in the day, I was a scout for the Barony-in-Exile of Branswatch, AKA the Filthy Greenshirts, so I have fond memories of woods battles.) I was hanging around the resurrection point for the second half of the Woods Battle -- we had a couple of sendings-to-vigil to do, so I needed to be around to herald.

Every 20 minutes or so, one or t'other of Their Majesties would get killed and sent back to the res point, deliver a rousing speech to the troops and plunge back into the fray. These did nothing but get bigger and more dramatic, urging the troops into one more push. (In the end, we won decisively, after one final push to get everyone back to the line and stop the Midrealm advance.)

And the result was closer to *living* a Shakespeare play than I've ever seen before. I was the audience, almost able to hear Henry's Chorus explaining the battle to me, apologizing for the fact that the battle was too large, too grand to show on this small stage. But the playwright substituted these moments, these invocations into battle, the stakes transmuted into speech, the few warriors visible to me representing the larger body off-stage doing the real work.

It's no surprise that Marguerite could give such great speeches, but it was also the moment when it seemed that Edward truly found his voice, letting his passion for the fight come through to the crowd. And the result sent a real chill through me. The SCA has rare moments where everything feels just a bit realer, where the membrane of time and circumstance between us and the periods we recreate becomes thin. This was the closest I've felt in some years...
jducoeur: (Default)
Okay, time to start reflecting on some memories of Pennsic. Let's start with what both objectively and subjectively was the high point: the resolution of my Quest.

For those coming late to the story -- at Coronation, I managed to screw up. Royally. For one brief shining moment, the Coronation ceremony had finished up, pretty much as designed, with no screw-ups that were particularly visible to the audience. It was epic, it was beautiful, it was special. And then I got the Queen's name wrong as we were recessing. So I was put on Quest at First Court, with an assignment to memorize and recite the names of the Queens of the East, in alphabetical order, at Pennsic.

Now truth to tell, *that* wouldn't have been horribly difficult: I'm a Masonic ritualist, used to memorization, and while that's a pretty substantial list, I've done worse. But simply standing in Court and reciting the names like an abashed schoolboy -- well, that just wouldn't be living up to the example set by my Queen. This is The Reign Of Good Schtick, and I had to do my part.

So I spent about two months letting it stew, trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. Finally, sometime around early June, I came up with a plan that I liked: a contrefait to the tune of Gracca Amorosa. The broad concept is nicely period (I have a book of period broadsides, including a couple specifically to dance tunes that we use), and Gracca is so bloody *syncopated* that it left me with lots of wiggle room in terms of both scansion and rhyme. (Those paying attention will notice that I am wildly inconsistent in the rhyme scheme, but it turns out to work just fine with this rhythm.)

Nonetheless, this left me with a remarkably tense two months writing the thing. The problem was that I kept coming up with lines that I liked for particular Queens, which had to come at particular points in a verse; this resulted in lots of panicked evenings as I racked my brain trying to fit the rest around the structural constraints. In the end, I got the last line written right around land grab. (And rewrote at least one line while we were loading the van.)

The performance wasn't my best: while I'd been memorizing as I composed, I only had about a week to practice the song in its entirety, and it was a bit shaky. Fortunately, one trick of the good comic is pretending that I've stopped for comic effect when the reality is that I'm trying to remember the next line. And it seems to have been well-received -- indeed, better than I'd had any reason to hope, given the number of compliments I got afterwards.

Probably the scariest thing I've done in my entire SCA career, but overall a success, and fun in a terrifying kind of way. As has been requested, I've put the lyrics up on the East Kingdom Wiki. Those are currently unadorned, but I plan to footnote the thing heavily (really, really heavily) sometime soon -- besides the many historical references, there are several lines that are so obscure I wouldn't expect anybody to know what I'm talking about, some of them quite specific to my interactions with the Queens in question...
jducoeur: (Default)
Okay, time to start reflecting on some memories of Pennsic. Let's start with what both objectively and subjectively was the high point: the resolution of my Quest.

For those coming late to the story -- at Coronation, I managed to screw up. Royally. For one brief shining moment, the Coronation ceremony had finished up, pretty much as designed, with no screw-ups that were particularly visible to the audience. It was epic, it was beautiful, it was special. And then I got the Queen's name wrong as we were recessing. So I was put on Quest at First Court, with an assignment to memorize and recite the names of the Queens of the East, in alphabetical order, at Pennsic.

Now truth to tell, *that* wouldn't have been horribly difficult: I'm a Masonic ritualist, used to memorization, and while that's a pretty substantial list, I've done worse. But simply standing in Court and reciting the names like an abashed schoolboy -- well, that just wouldn't be living up to the example set by my Queen. This is The Reign Of Good Schtick, and I had to do my part.

So I spent about two months letting it stew, trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. Finally, sometime around early June, I came up with a plan that I liked: a contrefait to the tune of Gracca Amorosa. The broad concept is nicely period (I have a book of period broadsides, including a couple specifically to dance tunes that we use), and Gracca is so bloody *syncopated* that it left me with lots of wiggle room in terms of both scansion and rhyme. (Those paying attention will notice that I am wildly inconsistent in the rhyme scheme, but it turns out to work just fine with this rhythm.)

Nonetheless, this left me with a remarkably tense two months writing the thing. The problem was that I kept coming up with lines that I liked for particular Queens, which had to come at particular points in a verse; this resulted in lots of panicked evenings as I racked my brain trying to fit the rest around the structural constraints. In the end, I got the last line written right around land grab. (And rewrote at least one line while we were loading the van.)

The performance wasn't my best: while I'd been memorizing as I composed, I only had about a week to practice the song in its entirety, and it was a bit shaky. Fortunately, one trick of the good comic is pretending that I've stopped for comic effect when the reality is that I'm trying to remember the next line. And it seems to have been well-received -- indeed, better than I'd had any reason to hope, given the number of compliments I got afterwards.

Probably the scariest thing I've done in my entire SCA career, but overall a success, and fun in a terrifying kind of way. As has been requested, I've put the lyrics up on the East Kingdom Wiki. Those are currently unadorned, but I plan to footnote the thing heavily (really, really heavily) sometime soon -- besides the many historical references, there are several lines that are so obscure I wouldn't expect anybody to know what I'm talking about, some of them quite specific to my interactions with the Queens in question...
jducoeur: (Default)
Because as we all know, the main purpose of Pennsic is shopping, right? Here are some of the highlights that I picked up:

After years of being very cautious about wearing my period turnshoes (omigod, they might get *muddy*), I finally did the right thing about bought a pair of pattens for them. For those in the audience who haven't encountered them, these are more or less fancy wooden blocks that you attach to the bottom of your shoes -- the period version of a snap-on vibram sole. It took a day or so to get used to them, and I still tended to switch to my modern shoes when making the long walk to the archery field, but I did wind up using the period shoes a lot more this Pennsic than ever before. The pattens were quite the conversation-starter, and I wound up buying another pair of period shoes (in bright shiny red) to go with them.

Teribus did not, sadly, have a new disc out yet. (Although they promised that the next disc *will* have the kick-ass version of Amoroso that they were playing in the marketplace.) However, they have been joined by Avatar of Catsprey, one of the Society's better-known musicians, and they apparently all participated on *his* latest disc from Estampitta, so I picked that up. Haven't gotten to it yet (my listening time has been dominated by my current Discworld novel), but it's at the top of the pile to come next.

I only found one new dance CD this year: Shepheards Holyday by Wandering Hands. I've listened through it quickly: my initial verdict is that it's good, although not quite perfect. It's specifically a disc of first-Playford dances arranged for dance, focusing on less-performed ones, so it's rather useful. The musicianship is quite good throughout. My only complaint is that I find the mixing rather over-simplified -- a bunch of the tunes come out a bit muddy, and there are times when the woodwinds get a bit too piercing. Definitely worth adding to the Baronial dance collection, and I suspect we'll wind up using it a fair amount, though IMO they could really push to the next level if they spend more time on the mix on their next album.

Probably the single coolest item I picked up was the second edition of The Atlas of the Knowne World. This is just a bunch of SCA maps, but *what* a bunch of SCA maps. It has pages for every Kingdom, showing (as best he could figure out) the borders of every SCA branch -- for Kingdoms that need it (like the East), he did multiple maps at different scales. It has index pages giving the branch breakdowns and heraldry for every branch. Coolest of all, it includes onionskin overlays for every map, showing the mundane-world geography broken down by state and country, so you can really *see* the relationships between the SCA and mundane layouts. It's not all that period in style, but it is by far the most *useful* SCA map ever produced. It was the first thing we bought at Pennsic, falling under the "this might sell out -- must buy it now!" clause, and is going to occupy a favored place on the administrative bookshelves...
jducoeur: (Default)
Because as we all know, the main purpose of Pennsic is shopping, right? Here are some of the highlights that I picked up:

After years of being very cautious about wearing my period turnshoes (omigod, they might get *muddy*), I finally did the right thing about bought a pair of pattens for them. For those in the audience who haven't encountered them, these are more or less fancy wooden blocks that you attach to the bottom of your shoes -- the period version of a snap-on vibram sole. It took a day or so to get used to them, and I still tended to switch to my modern shoes when making the long walk to the archery field, but I did wind up using the period shoes a lot more this Pennsic than ever before. The pattens were quite the conversation-starter, and I wound up buying another pair of period shoes (in bright shiny red) to go with them.

Teribus did not, sadly, have a new disc out yet. (Although they promised that the next disc *will* have the kick-ass version of Amoroso that they were playing in the marketplace.) However, they have been joined by Avatar of Catsprey, one of the Society's better-known musicians, and they apparently all participated on *his* latest disc from Estampitta, so I picked that up. Haven't gotten to it yet (my listening time has been dominated by my current Discworld novel), but it's at the top of the pile to come next.

I only found one new dance CD this year: Shepheards Holyday by Wandering Hands. I've listened through it quickly: my initial verdict is that it's good, although not quite perfect. It's specifically a disc of first-Playford dances arranged for dance, focusing on less-performed ones, so it's rather useful. The musicianship is quite good throughout. My only complaint is that I find the mixing rather over-simplified -- a bunch of the tunes come out a bit muddy, and there are times when the woodwinds get a bit too piercing. Definitely worth adding to the Baronial dance collection, and I suspect we'll wind up using it a fair amount, though IMO they could really push to the next level if they spend more time on the mix on their next album.

Probably the single coolest item I picked up was the second edition of The Atlas of the Knowne World. This is just a bunch of SCA maps, but *what* a bunch of SCA maps. It has pages for every Kingdom, showing (as best he could figure out) the borders of every SCA branch -- for Kingdoms that need it (like the East), he did multiple maps at different scales. It has index pages giving the branch breakdowns and heraldry for every branch. Coolest of all, it includes onionskin overlays for every map, showing the mundane-world geography broken down by state and country, so you can really *see* the relationships between the SCA and mundane layouts. It's not all that period in style, but it is by far the most *useful* SCA map ever produced. It was the first thing we bought at Pennsic, falling under the "this might sell out -- must buy it now!" clause, and is going to occupy a favored place on the administrative bookshelves...
jducoeur: (Default)
All jesting aside, it was a great Pennsic, exactly what I needed. There will be an introspective posting later, trying to unpack why I reacted so strongly to it (and what that implies about life, the universe and everything), but the summary is that it was one of the best I've had. I did a little of everything and not a great deal of anything; I hung out a lot with folks I like a lot; I did Stuff. The weather was as good as you could possibly ask for, at least for the week we were there: mostly clear, highs in the mid-70s, low enough humidity to gradually dry out the mud from the week before, a bunch of chilly nights that were great for sleeping. It was exactly the relaxing vacation I was looking for.

I'll call out one high point, though: I was invited to herald the procession for Colin's knighting, on the battlefield in between the field battles. This was, needless to say, a big deal for the household, and we wanted everybody involved. So as we were waiting for Ealdormere's knighting to happen, we lined things up, and the procession just grew and grew. We had me yelling, the musicians playing, a couple of the guys carrying his helmet and gauntlets. The Lochleven Army (the unit really is getting impressively big) formed double file, and parted the crowd so that we could come through, with the members of the Village following. And then the Second Division of the Northern Army wanted in on it, and started tacking onto the end, so the line just kept growing and growing, until there were practically as many people in the procession as in Court.

The best way to describe it is in pictures; sadly, the picture isn't posted, so I'll have to describe it. One of the airplanes was apparently overhead at that moment, taking the usual pictures of Pennsic from the air. If you look on the battlefield in Picture 205, you see what looks like an archery target -- a round cluster of people in court, and an arrow of procession pointing at it, lined up and ready to enter. Not quite Visible From Space, but I'll take Visible From Way Up.

Of course, not everything went to plan -- my run room turned out to be fairly short, so I only got to use a tiny bit of the windup I had prepared in case we had a long walk. And processing everybody in front of Their Majesties fell by the wayside when we got in there and realized that the impromptu Presence was all of ten feet across, with no good exit for the other end of the group. But the statement had been made: Colin's earned a lot of respect and friendship from a *lot* of people. It was delightful helping make that point...
jducoeur: (Default)
All jesting aside, it was a great Pennsic, exactly what I needed. There will be an introspective posting later, trying to unpack why I reacted so strongly to it (and what that implies about life, the universe and everything), but the summary is that it was one of the best I've had. I did a little of everything and not a great deal of anything; I hung out a lot with folks I like a lot; I did Stuff. The weather was as good as you could possibly ask for, at least for the week we were there: mostly clear, highs in the mid-70s, low enough humidity to gradually dry out the mud from the week before, a bunch of chilly nights that were great for sleeping. It was exactly the relaxing vacation I was looking for.

I'll call out one high point, though: I was invited to herald the procession for Colin's knighting, on the battlefield in between the field battles. This was, needless to say, a big deal for the household, and we wanted everybody involved. So as we were waiting for Ealdormere's knighting to happen, we lined things up, and the procession just grew and grew. We had me yelling, the musicians playing, a couple of the guys carrying his helmet and gauntlets. The Lochleven Army (the unit really is getting impressively big) formed double file, and parted the crowd so that we could come through, with the members of the Village following. And then the Second Division of the Northern Army wanted in on it, and started tacking onto the end, so the line just kept growing and growing, until there were practically as many people in the procession as in Court.

The best way to describe it is in pictures; sadly, the picture isn't posted, so I'll have to describe it. One of the airplanes was apparently overhead at that moment, taking the usual pictures of Pennsic from the air. If you look on the battlefield in Picture 205, you see what looks like an archery target -- a round cluster of people in court, and an arrow of procession pointing at it, lined up and ready to enter. Not quite Visible From Space, but I'll take Visible From Way Up.

Of course, not everything went to plan -- my run room turned out to be fairly short, so I only got to use a tiny bit of the windup I had prepared in case we had a long walk. And processing everybody in front of Their Majesties fell by the wayside when we got in there and realized that the impromptu Presence was all of ten feet across, with no good exit for the other end of the group. But the statement had been made: Colin's earned a lot of respect and friendship from a *lot* of people. It was delightful helping make that point...
jducoeur: (Default)
For those who weren't there, we should mention briefly the outcome of a few of the less-talked-about battles this year.

On the traditional side, I'd say that the Camp Breakdown Battle (individual timed event) went quite well overall. Lochleven excelled in this as in so many of the battles, finishing most of common takedown by an impressive 11:30am Saturday. But I'm generally proud of the populace of the Society, who have managed to improve their breakdown times each year. Based on ongoing trends, it won't be very many years before most of the population of Pennsic succeeds in leaving before they arrive.

On the downside, the Escape from Curry Road Battle (East/Midrealm/Allies vs. Route 422) was comprehensively won by the road, which pushed the SCA all the way back to the front gate of Cooper's Lake this year. SCA war leaders really need to find new strategies for future years, before the local side forces the traffic jam all the way back inside Cooper's Lake and we get a completely unbreakable gridlock. (On the bright side, being stuck permanently at Pennsic looks a lot more appealing when the weather is as good as it was this year.)

New this year was The Handshake Battle (East vs. Midrealm). This followed the tradition of the Champions Battles getting larger and larger and more and more diffuse, until things finally reached their apex this year, with every member of the armies getting to participate in individual one-on-one hearty handshakes against the opposite side. The East ran out of fighters first; however, since no one had actually figured out whether this was a trick-taking or trick-avoidance game, no one is entirely certain who won.

Finally, there was the new Archery Marathon (archers vs. Cooper's Lake topography). By placing the archery range in western Ohio, the war planners added an intriguing new triathlete element to the shoots, countering complaints that archery was too sedate a martial form with a requirement that one be capable of spending an entire day walking first.

Yes, I'm kidding, but only halfway. The new archery range isn't in Ohio, but it *is* well outside the boundaries of where I thought Cooper's Lake ended -- it's nearly a two-mile walk from Lochleven's encampment. And of course, the East vs. Middle war point had to be shot on a different day from the Principals vs. Allies one. I always get a lot of excercise at Pennsic, but archery days were particularly good workouts. One guy on the road near our camp insisted on shaking my hand simply because I had walked to the range and back twice.

On the plus side, the new range is noticeably nicer and more practical than the old one in several respects -- it's in a valley, so you don't lose arrows nearly as easily as you did on top of Mount Aislinn. And they tweaked the shoots this year, in all cases for the better IMO: each one was modified to make it easier for novice archers to get *some* points, while giving somewhat more points to the expert shooters. I did reasonably well for the dilettante archer that I am: 16 points for the East, 34 for Principals. (And I would have done better in the latter, except that I didn't find out that you were supposed to shoot twice until just before the range closed.)

As for the Handshake Battle, that one was genuinely confusing to the onlookers at the time. Everyone set up for the first River Battle; the clock ticked down from 10 minutes to the gun; and then it didn't go off. Instead, single-file processions started emerging from each side up near the castle, meeting in the center and walking back. We had no clue what was going on until a second line was started on the near side, and we could see that the fighters had been instructed to meet in the middle, shake, and head back to their lines. We spent 20 minutes or so speculating about this sudden change of plans as it happened. The leading guess seems to have been correct: the respective Kingdoms, having failed to agree on whether the sides were even, decided to figure it out by essentially counting off with handshakes. In the end, the sides proved pretty close to even -- the Mid sent a few folks over to our side (reportedly including their Princess), and the battle commenced as originally planned.
jducoeur: (Default)
For those who weren't there, we should mention briefly the outcome of a few of the less-talked-about battles this year.

On the traditional side, I'd say that the Camp Breakdown Battle (individual timed event) went quite well overall. Lochleven excelled in this as in so many of the battles, finishing most of common takedown by an impressive 11:30am Saturday. But I'm generally proud of the populace of the Society, who have managed to improve their breakdown times each year. Based on ongoing trends, it won't be very many years before most of the population of Pennsic succeeds in leaving before they arrive.

On the downside, the Escape from Curry Road Battle (East/Midrealm/Allies vs. Route 422) was comprehensively won by the road, which pushed the SCA all the way back to the front gate of Cooper's Lake this year. SCA war leaders really need to find new strategies for future years, before the local side forces the traffic jam all the way back inside Cooper's Lake and we get a completely unbreakable gridlock. (On the bright side, being stuck permanently at Pennsic looks a lot more appealing when the weather is as good as it was this year.)

New this year was The Handshake Battle (East vs. Midrealm). This followed the tradition of the Champions Battles getting larger and larger and more and more diffuse, until things finally reached their apex this year, with every member of the armies getting to participate in individual one-on-one hearty handshakes against the opposite side. The East ran out of fighters first; however, since no one had actually figured out whether this was a trick-taking or trick-avoidance game, no one is entirely certain who won.

Finally, there was the new Archery Marathon (archers vs. Cooper's Lake topography). By placing the archery range in western Ohio, the war planners added an intriguing new triathlete element to the shoots, countering complaints that archery was too sedate a martial form with a requirement that one be capable of spending an entire day walking first.

Yes, I'm kidding, but only halfway. The new archery range isn't in Ohio, but it *is* well outside the boundaries of where I thought Cooper's Lake ended -- it's nearly a two-mile walk from Lochleven's encampment. And of course, the East vs. Middle war point had to be shot on a different day from the Principals vs. Allies one. I always get a lot of excercise at Pennsic, but archery days were particularly good workouts. One guy on the road near our camp insisted on shaking my hand simply because I had walked to the range and back twice.

On the plus side, the new range is noticeably nicer and more practical than the old one in several respects -- it's in a valley, so you don't lose arrows nearly as easily as you did on top of Mount Aislinn. And they tweaked the shoots this year, in all cases for the better IMO: each one was modified to make it easier for novice archers to get *some* points, while giving somewhat more points to the expert shooters. I did reasonably well for the dilettante archer that I am: 16 points for the East, 34 for Principals. (And I would have done better in the latter, except that I didn't find out that you were supposed to shoot twice until just before the range closed.)

As for the Handshake Battle, that one was genuinely confusing to the onlookers at the time. Everyone set up for the first River Battle; the clock ticked down from 10 minutes to the gun; and then it didn't go off. Instead, single-file processions started emerging from each side up near the castle, meeting in the center and walking back. We had no clue what was going on until a second line was started on the near side, and we could see that the fighters had been instructed to meet in the middle, shake, and head back to their lines. We spent 20 minutes or so speculating about this sudden change of plans as it happened. The leading guess seems to have been correct: the respective Kingdoms, having failed to agree on whether the sides were even, decided to figure it out by essentially counting off with handshakes. In the end, the sides proved pretty close to even -- the Mid sent a few folks over to our side (reportedly including their Princess), and the battle commenced as originally planned.
jducoeur: (Default)
The Inversion of Gadgetry: This Pennsic was probably my most device-light ever. Not only did I not go to Mystic Mail, nor turn on my cellphone once, I didn't even wear my glasses about half the time. (Between the rain and the sweat, they were just a lose.) That said, I was struck by the rise of one specific new modernity: the use of cell phone browsers to track NOAA weather maps. Many times during Pennsic, I saw folks pulling out their phones to check on the progress of the storms. Which I can understand (I've done it myself, and even pointed out to at least one person that it was possible), but it does change the experience of the weather.

Hitting the 55-Yard Barbarian: Standing next to Duke Randall on the lines to shoot. There's nothing so good for me as a little competition, and sharing a line with one of the best in the East (we were pretty much the only Easterners there at the time) did inspire me to do better than usual. I believe I got over half as many points as him that day, which I'll take as at least decent.

Legged and Immortal at the Great Wall: My one bit of armored combat this Pennsic was at the Great Wall Battle, which was particularly well-suited for combat archery. We were very well organized, with all the archers assigned to mobile units in advance. Which was great, until another archer got my leg while I was kneeling to cock my bow. Following which, I found myself apparently untouchable: at least a dozen arrows zinged past me as other archers tried to take me out and kept missing. In practice, I got about half my kills in that battle while stuck there on one knee, before someone finally tagged my grille.

The Many Faces of Wakefield: The four Wakefield Cycle plays were all very distinctive, and it was fascinating to watch. [livejournal.com profile] antoniseb and his crew made fine use of I Sebastiani experience, producing a broad version of Cain and Abel that was relatively easy to understand, and far raunchier than I would have expected. The Annunciation was a bit less polished than the rest, but it was fun to listen to the period poetry in its proper pronunciation. The Harrowing of Hell was delightful, with a cast of thousands and Rhonwyn playing a really deliciously sinister Satan. But I'm afraid that The Flight Into Egypt stole the show despite being the least-period of the bunch: Sophie the Orange did essentially The Muppets Do Wakefield, with the period play performed by a troupe of hand puppets (I Marvini) who were constantly interrupting their own lines with business and questions. Funny and enormously accessible, it was a production I'd happily push any parents at, as a way to teach this stuff to their kids.

The Parking Lot Next Door: Pennsic dies down a little earlier every year. This time, the camp next to ours was already packed and gone by Thursday evening, and Friday morning was full of people in the process of leaving. I can kind of understand it, but it still boggles me a bit. That said, having the empty space next to us did make our own load-out on Saturday morning much easier...
jducoeur: (Default)
The Inversion of Gadgetry: This Pennsic was probably my most device-light ever. Not only did I not go to Mystic Mail, nor turn on my cellphone once, I didn't even wear my glasses about half the time. (Between the rain and the sweat, they were just a lose.) That said, I was struck by the rise of one specific new modernity: the use of cell phone browsers to track NOAA weather maps. Many times during Pennsic, I saw folks pulling out their phones to check on the progress of the storms. Which I can understand (I've done it myself, and even pointed out to at least one person that it was possible), but it does change the experience of the weather.

Hitting the 55-Yard Barbarian: Standing next to Duke Randall on the lines to shoot. There's nothing so good for me as a little competition, and sharing a line with one of the best in the East (we were pretty much the only Easterners there at the time) did inspire me to do better than usual. I believe I got over half as many points as him that day, which I'll take as at least decent.

Legged and Immortal at the Great Wall: My one bit of armored combat this Pennsic was at the Great Wall Battle, which was particularly well-suited for combat archery. We were very well organized, with all the archers assigned to mobile units in advance. Which was great, until another archer got my leg while I was kneeling to cock my bow. Following which, I found myself apparently untouchable: at least a dozen arrows zinged past me as other archers tried to take me out and kept missing. In practice, I got about half my kills in that battle while stuck there on one knee, before someone finally tagged my grille.

The Many Faces of Wakefield: The four Wakefield Cycle plays were all very distinctive, and it was fascinating to watch. [livejournal.com profile] antoniseb and his crew made fine use of I Sebastiani experience, producing a broad version of Cain and Abel that was relatively easy to understand, and far raunchier than I would have expected. The Annunciation was a bit less polished than the rest, but it was fun to listen to the period poetry in its proper pronunciation. The Harrowing of Hell was delightful, with a cast of thousands and Rhonwyn playing a really deliciously sinister Satan. But I'm afraid that The Flight Into Egypt stole the show despite being the least-period of the bunch: Sophie the Orange did essentially The Muppets Do Wakefield, with the period play performed by a troupe of hand puppets (I Marvini) who were constantly interrupting their own lines with business and questions. Funny and enormously accessible, it was a production I'd happily push any parents at, as a way to teach this stuff to their kids.

The Parking Lot Next Door: Pennsic dies down a little earlier every year. This time, the camp next to ours was already packed and gone by Thursday evening, and Friday morning was full of people in the process of leaving. I can kind of understand it, but it still boggles me a bit. That said, having the empty space next to us did make our own load-out on Saturday morning much easier...
jducoeur: (Default)
I'll mix these two topics, since they're slightly intertwined.

One of the high points of Pennsic: [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite's expression rapidly going through surprise, slight chagrin at the fact that her campmates managed to surprise her, and then a quiet grin as she went into EK Court to receive her Manche. I always love to welcome new members into the Orders, but this time was really special.

Their Majesties of the Middle entering EK Court, for the purpose of presenting House Kellswood with the Order of the Purple Fretty (the Midrealm group service award) for their work with Pennsic archery. Well-deserved, and a classy presentation.

Their Majesties of Atlantia getting called in, and both of them receiving QoCs. It was a really heartfelt moment: TRM East clearly cared about this one a lot, and TRM Atlantia looked to be truly bowled over.

Master Philip Reed the Facetious' hat. My mantra about Peerages is that each one should have something Distinctive about it. In his case, it was a Cap of Maintenance that looks like nothing so much as a swan sitting on his head.

Having a music merchant listen to the dance CD I'd produced, and pronounce it "not too bad". One of [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite's projects for this Pennsic was to try out paper publishing for the first time, producing a little booklet of Four Dances From Caroso; I worked up a CD to accompany it, with those four dances plus (mostly because I could) Barriera. I finally got the synth working properly, so the results don't totally suck -- which, given that I'm far from a serious musician, leaves me with a great sense of satisfaction. (The merchant bought four copies of the booklet/CD pair.)

Applause at the end of the Barriera class that [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite and I tag-teamed on. There's nothing quite like the kick of teaching a fairly complex dance and having the students both enjoy and succeed at it...
jducoeur: (Default)
I'll mix these two topics, since they're slightly intertwined.

One of the high points of Pennsic: [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite's expression rapidly going through surprise, slight chagrin at the fact that her campmates managed to surprise her, and then a quiet grin as she went into EK Court to receive her Manche. I always love to welcome new members into the Orders, but this time was really special.

Their Majesties of the Middle entering EK Court, for the purpose of presenting House Kellswood with the Order of the Purple Fretty (the Midrealm group service award) for their work with Pennsic archery. Well-deserved, and a classy presentation.

Their Majesties of Atlantia getting called in, and both of them receiving QoCs. It was a really heartfelt moment: TRM East clearly cared about this one a lot, and TRM Atlantia looked to be truly bowled over.

Master Philip Reed the Facetious' hat. My mantra about Peerages is that each one should have something Distinctive about it. In his case, it was a Cap of Maintenance that looks like nothing so much as a swan sitting on his head.

Having a music merchant listen to the dance CD I'd produced, and pronounce it "not too bad". One of [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite's projects for this Pennsic was to try out paper publishing for the first time, producing a little booklet of Four Dances From Caroso; I worked up a CD to accompany it, with those four dances plus (mostly because I could) Barriera. I finally got the synth working properly, so the results don't totally suck -- which, given that I'm far from a serious musician, leaves me with a great sense of satisfaction. (The merchant bought four copies of the booklet/CD pair.)

Applause at the end of the Barriera class that [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite and I tag-teamed on. There's nothing quite like the kick of teaching a fairly complex dance and having the students both enjoy and succeed at it...

Profile

jducoeur: (Default)
jducoeur

October 2017

S M T W T F S
123 4567
8910 1112 1314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags