Pennsic-101-art – 8/17/03
An article for those new to Pennsic by Culaan.
NOTE: See also the files: BPThingie-art, P-history-msg, Pennsic-ideas-msg, Pennsic-Prep-art, P-Food-Safety-art, P-stories-msg, camp-kitchens-msg, cmp-courteses-art, Care-o-Prvies-art, camp-showers-msg.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
To: spca-wascaerfrig at yahoogroups.com
From: Philippa Alderton <phlip at morganco.net>
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2001 09:42:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [spca-wascaerfrig] Fwd: [PennsicW10] Pennsic 101-Advice for War virgins
OK, guys, Culann just sent this out- it has some good advice, and, although most of us are experienced at Pennsic, it has some good ideas.
Ok, my camp is going to be a majority of Pennsic virgins this War. Some are even SCA newbees with only a few events under their belts. As such I thought to write a missive to give some advice on how best to survive Pennsic, because if you've never been there you haven't a clue yet as to what your walking into. It's more fun than you thought possible, but also requires some forethought too.
Though meant for virgins, veterans pay heed too. Eventually you'll have to appear older and wiser for some newbee. This can be a pattern for what not to say to them :)
The Pennsic booklet has a packing list, as does the Pennsic website. Read it, follow it. It's written by those masochists that don't have enough sense to stay home and lived to tell the tales.
First off, there's the basic physical things you'll need. You're going to be camping in a tent for X days. If it's an older mundane tent, and even if it's a new one, it's not going to be sufficient to withstand Pennsic weather. Get an poly tarp to stretch over the top of your tent. Besides helping with shedding any rain water it'll help with giving shade so the darned thing doesn't turn into an oven on a sunny day. Also trench around your tent on the uphill side to keep a river out of your tent. The song "Old Suzanna" covers what you'll experience on that point "....It rained so hard the night I left, the weather it was dry. The sun so hot I froze to death....". Come prepared to survive a war, because you will be doing just that. Oh and don't think your friend's canvas pavilion is immune if it gets rough. I've personally not had a tent collapse (YET!) even though pegs and ropes have given way a time or two. The War Gods enjoy a challenge when they're sporting about.
Food - Pack your cooler but try to bring as much non-perishables as you can manage because they won't go bad. Those things in your cooler can go questionable fast if you don't keep track of things, so follow the general philosophy of "when in doubt, throw it out". Better to lose a few pennies pitching something than foot the bill for a trip to Butler Memorial.
Water - some non-perishables need reconstitution, like Ramen Noodles. So that means water. Pennsic water comes from wells. there's nothing wrong with it but it counts for hard water. Both Pennsic water and Guinness Stout are something you chew :). If you're sensitive to differing waters and such, or think you might be, bring your own bottled water. As much as you can haul. You'll need it and it won't be wasted.
Sanitation - We just PLAY at being in the Middle Ages. As such it's nice to keep things clean so there's no Plague outbreaks (gastrointestinal illnesses or worse). Bring along some hand sanitizer in case the porta-castles are out. WASH that mug before you drink out of it again after whatever you did to yourself the night before. Showers every few days are good too. Pherenomes are not to be underrated....but don't OVERrate them either :)
Keep your eyes open. See what others have brought and what works or doesn't. Make notes on what you'd like to try to bring yourself next time. Get started now, you only have 50 weeks to prepare for next War. That's not enough time, ask any War veteran.
Other things - We all know why we go to the War. To party our posteriors off........er, have fun living the Dream. Try to get laid.....er, see old friends we never met before. BEAT THAT SUCKER INTO THE GROUND LIKE A TENT PEG!!!....er, the chivalric ideal of the battlefield.
Obviously there's a lot of reasons why we all go, and not one of them fully encompasses what Pennsic is. The closest I've ever come to adequately describing the War is to call it Woodstock at Camelot. However if you decide to wander about and partake of the various sights, sounds, and pleasures of the War it might be best, at least initially, to bring along a native guide. A War veteran that knows what's where and what to see and what to avoid. It'll save you a lot of needless fruitless wandering if nothing else so you can concentrate on what you want to concentrate on. I do what I call "Adopt-a-Virgin" and escort a newbee around. It worked out quite well for one friend one War. Her fellow got so concerned that I, Culann The Lecher, had her out 'til dawn the one time that he redoubled his efforts with her. They're married now :)
Most parties at War are ok to go to with nothing to be truly concerned about. For ladies Pennsic is the perfect place to flirt since no still means no...and there's a higher per capita of weapons than people as well as the chivalric ideal waxing high (if for no other reason than the gallant fellow wishes to try to impress you as he defends you from some other cad). There are however exceptions, so be mindful. The biggest problem with Pennsic parties, especially the bigger ones, is that sometimes things can happen that aren't meant to. Someone might hand you a drink with no malice and it won't set well with you at all. Be sure of what's in your mug before you drink.
And if you're so inclined as to hedonism, be sure you know what you're getting before you say yes to an offer. Or as the one famous tale is told of one gentle overheard as he roused groggily hungover that next day.....
"This isn't my tent!"
"You're not my wife!"
"YOU'RE NOT A WOMAN!"
Ask any Pennsic veteran and they'll pass along similar entertaining tales, lies, and precautions of this happy insanity that has become so central to so many of us. The Pennsic War.