August 14th, 2007


Impressions of Pennsic: Court, and Assisting ladysprite

I'll mix these two topics, since they're slightly intertwined.

One of the high points of Pennsic: 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 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 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...

Impressions of Pennsic: Various and Sundry

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. 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...

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant

Scarcely even counts as a recipe, given how simple it is, but it's worth noting because it is *so* good. Thanks to my father for the suggestion.

Take an eggplant. (We did it with the round purple-and-white ones. No idea what they're called: the guy at the farmer's market simply named them "purple".) Slice it fairly thin -- quarter-inch slices or so. Brush on olive oil on both sides (I'm experimenting with flavored oils, which are proving interesting), and sprinkle with a bit of pepper and a dash of kosher salt.

Grill on direct high heat, pretty quickly -- 2-3 minutes per side, until each side has very dark grill marks. Serve immediately, and enjoy...