As usual, some random observations, recollections and thoughts, in no particular order:
Let's get the weather out of the way first. It was quite nice -- perhaps not as fabulous as I've heard it was a couple of years ago, but OTOH we had good weather for takedown, rather than a deluge. In particular, the humidity was low on all but one day, which made all the difference: when it was hot, it wasn't oppressive, and when it rained (which it did a fair amount) things dried quickly.
I found that, at least in decent weather like that, a long-sleeved period-styled linen garment totally wins over short-sleeved cotton t-tunics. One of my major purchases was a nice Bocksten (IIRC) tunic and cap, and another was some proper braies and chausses to go with the tunic I got last year; all of it turned out to be not just period but downright pleasant to wear. The Laurely bit of my brain got to smugly lord it over my usual laziness about garb.
(The other major purchase was *way* too many weapons suitable for throwing. Having decided that I shouldn't be borrowing equipment any more, self-control kind of evaporated. But at least now I've got stuff I can really practice and get consistent with.)
Lochleven showed up early for opening ceremonies, having heard that we should march in with Carolingia. As it happens, we essentially marched *as* Carolingia -- the only other person who showed up was etherial. It was rather fun, if a smidgeon awkward: the baronial banner wasn't there, and the Lochleven one of course was, with the result that we took a fair amount of ribbing from the Ostgardr and BBM contingents on either side of us, about households marching in the Baronial procession. It did mean that we got a fairly good spot to see opening ceremonies, but we should harder on communication around the procession next year. (I think the problem this year was mostly that everyone is too used to jdulac organizing the procession; with him not at Pennsic, everyone simply assumed that someone else had silenced the proverbial guard.)
As I assume most people have heard, the War per se was conceded by the East right at the outset. We actually didn't realize it at the time: we knew that Konrad had said *something*, but he was saying it towards the King of the Mid rather than us, so we just cheered when we was done speaking, while looking at each other and quietly going, "What did he say?" "Doesn't matter -- we'll find out later".
Our fighters, at least, seemed to take the decision with equanimity and a certain amount of understanding of Konrad's point. (Which was basically that the bidding war for allies has gotten kind of out of hand, and he felt he needed to make a statement about it.) It doesn't seem to have caused quite as much controversy as the previous Pennsic Police Action did, and doesn't seem to have really changed things very much: we still fought all the same points, and folks seemed to have fun. The official lowering of the stakes did seem to make people a little more willing to switch sides to even things out, with the result that the unofficial score came out pretty close. I'm actually not sure what the final point tally was -- by the end, it got pretty messy, since the last three field battles were changed to be East/Mid vs. Allies fights.
(Speaking of which: does anybody have the final archery scores? I'm mostly curious about what the averages were: I think I shot pretty well this year, and would like to see how I did against the average.)
The good news is that neither msmemory nor I came down with the Pennsic Plague; the bad is that we seem to be among the few in the encampment who didn't. This particular instance was slow-moving but virulent, taking down one or two people at a time throughout Pennsic. Given that people were apparently still coming down with it as they got home, it clearly had a fairly long incubation time.
I wound up as Takedown Boss for Lochleven this year (I was going to be teaming with Rosa on that, but she had to leave early). This proved fun, in an autocrat/GM kind of definition of "fun". Lochleven is full of clueful people who can be aimed at a task and told to deal with it, so it largely turns into a resource-management game, throwing people at jobs until they're finished. There are limits to how much you can plan in advance -- some considerations, like when the canvas will be dry, are out of your control -- but if you're flexible about it, it goes pretty smoothly.
Being in an encampment with an easy-going amateur bardic tradition is glorious fun: none of us are brilliant, but that makes it easier to jump in with a song or poem. I finally remembered to bring my old songbook with me to Pennsic this year, so I got to introduce the camp to older pieces by folks like Ioseph of Locksley and Bertram of Bearington, not to mention brushing the rust off of my own "Bound for Pennsic", which I don't think I've sung in ten years. (I was tempted to pull out Catalan Vengeance, but was more in the mood for lighter fare -- we'll do that one at some later campfire.) I do need to work on memorization, though: reading the songs by candlelight loses something over being able to just belt them out. My fondness for campfire/post-revel filk seems to be returning: at one point during the War, msmemory looked at a car on the road and idly commented, "Hmm -- Ballista on the Roof"; my immediate reaction was, "Sure, that scans -- remind me to write it".
Speaking of music: while Wolgemut were there and fun as usual, the stage got stolen by a new band named Teribus, who were all over the streets of the marketplace. learnedax described them to us as being like Wolgemut five years or so ago, and that seems about right: their level of energy and sponteneity was fabulous. In short, Teribus *rocked*, and proved one of the highlights of Pennsic. We haven't had a chance to crack open their CD yet, but I have high hopes: they were playing the kind of truly kick-ass period stuff that goes right into my Road Music mix.
More later as I think of it, no doubt. Summary, though: good Pennsic. Served as a reasonable vacation, although I can't say I caught up on my sleep debt. I really do need to do two weeks one of these years, so that I'm properly settled into it sometime before we start packing up...