Tags: pennsic



Finished all the shopping except last-minute groceries that I'll pick up in Cranberry. Finished all but one of the "out" errands I needed to do (not counting the one I couldn't do because I didn't get to the Post Office before it closed). Now I just need to finish the in-the-house stuff I need to do before leaving, and get all of my stuff into the truck.

[info] anniemal gave me an ace bandage yesterday for my wrist. I should have been wearing it this afternoon. I'll definitely put it on before loading the truck.


Musings, Favours, Observations, Wondering

A bit of a grab-bag entry (er ... as though that's anything unusual) as I try to get ready for Pennsic.

Baitcon: I mentioned that there were lots of folks I was glad to see, and that the "folks I don't see often enough" category is too large. There were too many members of that category present for me to get to talk to everyone I wanted to. I'm glad of the chance to catch up with the ones I did manage to. I really need to plan a road trip to Boston (and several other places) once I have a car again.

On the whole I had a great time -- meteorological, culinary, musical, and social aspects were all wonderful -- and my body only "stole time" from me by forcing me to rest-more-than-healthy-people when I would rather have been making music or being social, rather than wiping out my weekend entirely. It was frustrating but I'm trying to recalibrate my expectations. (Much like the past couple years at Pennsic where I've had to pace myself in such a way that I get about a week worth of Pennsic in the two weeks spent there. Getting more folks to come hang out in my camp would help summat.)

After Baitcon: my right wrist has been excruciatingly painful since sometime on the way home from Baitcon. :-( Enough so that perhaps it's just as well that miscommunication interfered with my getting to 3LF rehearsal this week. I did find a position in which I can play bass guitar without aggravating it farther, but I'm not sure I can play double bass right now, and really vigorous strumming on guitar (like I do in HCB) would be a major problem. I've no idea what I did to it, and am feeling rather impatient about its healing, since I'm concerned about being able to play when it's time to perform.

Pennsic whoops: The somewhat Rube Goldberg shipping arrangements for a package I need from London, Ontario fell through. (The "fault", if one can be said to exist, lies more with the fragility of a plan involving so many steps, rather than the failure of any one person trying to do me a favour; also, my own lack of foresight in getting things moving early enough to compensate for glitches.) This has the potential to make my Pennsic significantly uncomfortable. I don't suppose there's anyone who could arrange to bring me two weeks worth of certain Canadian goods on such short notice? (Specifically the generic version of Reactine [Zyrtec] which I know I'm going to want in that dusty, smoky environment, and codeine+caffeine+acetaminophen tablets [unless a version with ibuprofen instead of aceteminophen exists], which I very much hope not to need, but am very likely to given that Pennsic is a bit rough on my body. The Reactine has to be the plain version, without any decongestant -- 10mg tablets preferred, though I can double up on 5mg pills or use a pill-splitter to chop 20mg ones in half.)

And not really a 'whoops', though I do wish I'd thought to ask earlier than this: is there anybody in my area (Baltimore) not going to Pennsic, who has a 12V deep-cycle battery that I could borrow for two weeks? Merely a convenience, as opposed to the rather more pressing medical needs in the preceeding paragraph, but hey, if it works out ...

And a little-whoops: I'm still looking to trade a 128MB Memory Stick Pro that I can't use (actually it's a Pro Duo in an adapter) for a 128MB or even a 64MB Memory Stick not-'Pro' that I can use. I meant to try to arrange such a trade for Baitcon but forgot.

Not related to anything in particular (1): Every so often a friend sets up, or tweaks, their custom filters to show journal entries on different topics to different people, and there's usually a round of "which filters do you want to be on?". If I'm actually getting around to reading everything and commenting that week, I usually say something like this, which I'll borrow [info] emeraldliz's words for because they're more concise than mine:

"I get tired of people deciding they suddenly need a dozen friends lists and asking people if they want to be on them. If I'm a friend- it's cuz I want to read your stuff. If you don't want me to read it, that's up to you. If I don't want to read it, it's up to me."

Note that I don't expect everyone on my friendslist who decides a month or a year or a decade from now to remember the Published Filter Policy of every person on their friendslist, so therefore I am not demanding that this statement be remembered and taken into account, but I figure I may as well at least put it out there just in case.

Actually, if there were an "add this user-plus-tag" option when friending someone or adding them to one of your own reading filters, then tags could be used to push the whole "opt-in filter" concept into the reader's sphere-of-control. (Even better would be that plus "except if this tag is present" as options, so that I could exclude certain only-occasionally-interesting and usually verbose subjects fom my "busy" reading filter, while still leaving them on my default view. It would have to be user+tag, not just tag-regardless-of-user, because different people use the same tag different ways.) As I've observed before, I'm sure there are folks who would like to be able to subscribe to my QotD entries without getting the rest of my journal.

Not related to anything in particular (2): I was thinking last week about what's nice about being in a place where lots of guys are wearing kilts, and was reminded of it at Baitcon when somebody made an appreciative comment about men in skirts (kilts and otherwise): It's been quite adequately demonstrated that a large percentage of women really like seeing men in kilts or in skirted garments in general. Not all of these women will be attracted to me, but in an environment where there are lots of kilts being worn, the odds are that for each woman present, there will be at least one guy she finds distractingly attractive wearing a kilt within visual range. So women at such events tend to be, if not exactly aroused per se, at least a little ... "revved up", "sparkly", happy, tittilated. And even when they're not looking at me, that energy is perceptible, and I find that energy, that undercurrent of awareness-of-aroused-females-of-my-species pervading the environment, to be pleasurable in itself. I like being around aroused women. It feels nice. A pleasant glow for an empath.

Really, I've never quite understood why so relatively few cisgendered American guys (outside of the Pagan community, Celtic festivals, medieval reenactment contexts, and the contradance scene) choose to wear unbifurcated garments, given how positively -- and usually quite openly so -- many women respond when they see men wearing such things. (Admittedly, I first noticed the connection as a side effect of being transgendered, but I eventually would've caught on from being at medieval events and Scottish events, and would have realized as several of my friends and acquaintances appear to have, that kilts tend to please the ladies.)


Thinking Aloud (electricity)

Okay, it should quickly become obvious that I'm not camping in Enchanted Ground[*] ...

The latest American Science & Surplus catalog arrived in todays snailmail. "Oh, right," I thought, "they sell photovoltaic solar cells! I've been meaning to look up whether it'd be cost effective to get some of those for Pennsic."

Eep! On p.52, a panel rated at 12V/1A that they said they got 19V/750mA out of unloaded ... on sale for $144.50. %wince% Okay, not in the cards for this year, and probably not any of the next several years for me, unless I can find a way to turn it into a profit-generating thang as well as an electricity-generating thang. So looking up whether their shipping could get it to me before I leave or not became moot.

OTOH, they've got a bunch of rechargeable batteries for what looks like good prices so far (i.e., before checking the AH:price ratio of car batteries down the street at Advance Auto Parts): 6V/12AH Pb-acid $7.50, 15ct. "grab bag" assortment of NiCd $3.95, 10 AA NiCd packaged together as 12V/1AH (but easily cut apart to use as individual cells, so maybe I should get these for me DigiCam (but I'd better check the camera's manual to see whether it warns against using NiCd cells)) $5.95, single AA 1.2V/2100mAH NiMH $2.25 (I think those are $13.95 per 4-pack at Rite Aid -- dunno about other local retailers).

The main thing I'm pondering how to run is rated at 5V/2A (I tried four NiCd D-cells and got less than two hours), so either the 6V/12AH Pb battery plus enough solar cells to both recharge the battery and run the device (not cost effective), or a much better idea of how often I'll actually want to be making active use of the device to get a better idea of charge/drain times (not enough info just yet), would be useful. I think the grand plan there will wait a bit longer to get into seriously trying to implement it.

So the secondary concern is wanting to extend the life of the battery+inverter I'll be leeching off of to recharge my PDA and cell phone (and the laptop I borrow, if I do borrow one) and to help me feel less guilty about leeching off of [info] syntonic_comma's battery (I do wish I'd remembered to yank the battery from my car before it was towed). Of course, being able to skip the inverter stage would help ... the catalog list a "7-cell Li-ion pack" with an assortment of connectifiers and output switchable "between 3V/6A up to 8.4V/2A" (I hope they mean there arew a bunch of voltages available in between the two extremes) but it doesn't list an AH rating, which makes it harder to judge the cost-effectiveness ... and neither my phone nor my PDA has a nice, standard, barrel or phone connector for power. (I can charge either directly from 12VDC with a cigarette lighter socket -- easy enough to wire up if I get a chance to swing by a Radio Shack or similar store, or if I find the one I used to use as an extender when I drove a car with a lip on the ash tray that prevented the plug from the phone I was using then from fitting into the lighter.)

Third on the list is powering the digital camera. Not wanting to drain the laptops/phones/PDA master battery for that, especially with inverter losses (wait, just how efficient are those itty bitty consumer-grade 100W inverters these days, anyhow?) I was planning to bring a Big Pile O' Batteries and just run it on alkaline AA cells when the two sets of NiMH cells I have run out. But I wonder: if I can afford to buy a mess of NiMH or Li-ion AA cells in time (and run them all through my charger), will they hold their charge long enough in the camera bag to still do me any good in the second week, or should I stick with alkaline (or maybe NiCd) for Pennsic?

Golly, if only I were going to a party known to be frequented by electronics geeks, scientists, and engineers between now and War! ;-) This sounds like a problem to discuss over ice cream, n'est-ce pas? Gotta remember to take the catalog with me to Baitcon this weekend.

(Whoah. I just noticed a 10-pack of A76 cells -- which suck in film cameras, which prefer S76, but are great in laser pointers -- for $1.50. That's less than a single cell costs at the drug store.)

[*] This footnote grew into a whole entry of its own, about the many different ways of enjoying Pennsic and how I feel about bringing electronics, which I'll post a little later this afternoon.



A reminder to all who both care and procrastinate: the online preregistration deadline for Pennsic War 36 is only a couple of days away. Make sure you're counted towards your camp's land allocation.

Now if I could convince a couple of people who I'm sure would love Pennsic to finally make it out there so I can see their reactions, that'd be great.

And as long as I'm on the subject, I may as well link to my (terribly in need of updating) personal page about Pennsic.


The Missing Pennsic Posts

No, I still haven't gotten around to witing a proper War report, but I'll cheat a bit and keep the topic fresh by posting bits already written. Here's what should have been posted during War.

Background for anyone who doesn't find the minutiae of my life fascinating enough to memorize everything I babble: I've got two cell phones and one SIM that I can switch between them -- there are some features I like better on one and some I like better on the other, and it's nice to be able to charge oe while carrying the other around. I took both to Pennsic in case of trouble getting access to electricity to run the charger, figuring I'd have twice as much battery to use up before it became a problem. (That wasn't an issue for more than a couple of days, as it turned out, but I'll still play "just in case" wrt availability of electricity next year.) Not having previously sent email-via-SMS from one of the phones, I didn't know that one had a configuration glitch that caused such messages to be silently dropped in the bit-bucket, until I noticed that many of the LJ entries I'd tried to post from Pennsic hadn't been posted (and started looking for a pattern).

I've got the SMS-to-email problem sorted out (with help), and thus the post-to-LJ-via-SMS problem. So now both phones can post to LJ. Fortunately, I hadn't yet deleted most of the attempted messages (one or two are gone but the rest I hadn't gotten around to). Unfortunately, only the other phone stores the timestamp of sent messages, and this one, oddly enough, does not keep the sent-messages folder in chronological order. So I'm able to post belatedly the snippets you should have seen during War, but I can only partialy restore the order/timing of them.

So here's the sound-bite view of my Pennsic, which I'm sure would have been much more interesting/entertaining if you were reading it one message at a time while I was still out there. (*sigh*).

[2006-08-06 02:38 (posted from the other phone, but truncated)]: One of cacie's songs has Mighty Kung-Fu Action death grip on my brain. Oh! Snoring stopped; maybe I can go [to sleep now.]

[2006-08-08 15:38 (posted from other phone, included here for continuity)]: Already declaring this a productive War: Mike and I composed a tune last night.

[Don't remember when]: Odd feeling: just woke from a dream with my inner compass askew as though someone had turned my tent 90° while I slept. [The feeling persisted five or ten minutes after waking -- I looked out my window and saw the correct view looking south, but it very strongly felt like I was looking east. Quite disconcerting until the world straightened itself out again.]

[Don't remember when; between 8:00 and 10:00 some morning]: Half shade half sunlit, difference from one end of tent to other is 25°F. 70 by bed, 95 near door. [Note: my tent is about eleven feet from end to end at the floor, a bit less where I was holding the thermometer.]

[Late 2006-08-10 or midlle of 2006-08-11]: -- Missing message about planning to play with Emory, Mike, and Bob in the bardic competition at the Chalk Man later --

[2006-08-11, between 21:00 and 23:00]: At The Chalk Man pub waiting our turn to play. Wish I had my cape.

[2006-08-11, uh, 23ish?]: Problem with going on last: desipte my best efforts to keep them warm, my fingers were COLD when we played. Frustrated.

[Nearly midnight 2006-08-11 or a few minutes into 2006-08-12]: Didn't win anything but did sell a CD.

[2006-08-12 20:23 (posted from other phone and commented on, included here for continuity)]: Apparently I am a pervert. (On account of hazelnut decaf Turkish coffee with artificial sweeteners.)

[Don't remember when]: Nice thing about being next to Clan Cambion: when drums (&pipes) elsewhere stop, we hear harps. [One of many nice things -- I would have phrased it differently, but for the length limit on SMS messages.]

[2006-08-14, 9ish]: Morning paper just arrived: already 10,470 people on site as of 16:00 yesterday.

[Probably 2006-08-14, late afternoon (if I'm remembering correctly which day it rained)]: And we have rain. Got the tent mostly covered before it got heavy; hope the remaining exposed bits aren't the ones that leak.

[Probably 2006-08-14, after dark]: Our camp was just visited by minions from Hell...Who needed our help restoring their fire.

[Some evening in the second week]: Overheard from the road just now: "Whatever happens, it's alright, because we have a designated scapegoat."

[Probably 2008-08-16; might be able to figure it out from file timestamps on borrowed laptop later]: Pennsic so far: Haven't done any shopping or made it to any classes yet, but I've composed another tune.

[Late 2006-08-16/wee hours of 2006-08-17]: -- Missing message about busking during Midnight Madness --

[2006-08-20, around 10AM, I think]: Packed & ready to go; struck tent last night due to weather forecast (since changed). Trying to nap w/o sunburn while waiting for truck. [txt msg abbr expanded to less annoying form; original barely fit in an SMS message]

So there's the sound-bite version. Proper writeup still to come.



Two weeks ago I drove a twenty-six foot U-Haul truck (I don't recall the make, most likely GMC) for about an hour one day, a few short errands the next, and then for eight or so hours (it's not as quick a trip in a big-ass truck as it is in a car). Then I didn't drive at all for two weeks. Then I drove a twenty-four foot U-Haul GMC truck for many hours (with a handful of pauses for sleep), today driving it another hour to take it from Baltimore to northern Virginia.

So getting into my own car a few hours ago felt ... downright strange. For the first twelve minutes. And quite strange again when I got out of it and didn't have to step way down.

But wow, what a relief to be driving something that accellerates worth a damn, and handles decently at speeds over 75 MPH, again. (The 24' truck had a governor on it, I think, holding it to 70 MPH except going down steep hills. Just as well, since the handling sucked at higher speeds, so I wasn't inclined to go any faster. The 26' truck may or may not have had a governor, but the handling started getting iffy around 68 MPH so I didn't push it.)

I felt so much more comfortable once I got my car up to 75 ... which actually is the subject of a future entry I've been meaning to get around to (but not tonight -- sleepytime is too near to start that if it's going to wind up being as long as I think it will).

Though I'd passed mirrors since returning from Pennsic, an hour or so ago was the first time I actually looked at myself in one since coming back. My initial reaction was, "Whose scalp is that? It can't be mine -- it's the wrong colour." My face and scalp got more sun than I'd realized. Hey, if there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that I have Mediterranean blood, a look at me now would dispell it.

(My father was extremely fair-skinned. My siblings and I each hit different points on the line between his colour and our mother's, and tan differently as well. I think I'm about in the middle of us as far as that goes.)

Looks like I also picked up a few new freckles. (Yeah, I both tan and freckle.)


That Was The War That Was

I left Pennsic [I really need to update that page...] late Sunday, realized I was too tired to do the trip safely in one shot in so large a vehicle, and pulled over a few times for naps. Not great sleep in the cab of the truck, but better than trying to stay awake. Got into Baltimore yesterday afternoon and unloaded all the easy stuff -- what's left is to pull out the three 4'x8' platforms and figure out where to store them, and to figure out where to put the small refrigerator that had been atop the platforms with my stuff, 'cause that goes back to Virginia with the rest of the contents of the truck.

Between loading, driving, and unloading, I'm exhausted and achy. I still plan to go to 3LF rehearsal tonight (if I don't get the truck to Virginia beforehand, I'll have to skip out halfway through to take care of that) and HCB rehearsal tomorrow. Not sure when whether I'll get around to posting the many Pennsic-related bits I'd planned to relate here -- I also need to clear up some mundane issues, return phone calls, clean up my house, get my nails done (War was a bit hard on them), and try to catch up on sleep.

If I've recovered enough by then, I'd really like to attend the Storvik post-Pennsic revel. We'll see. For now, this much: great weather (I can only recall one War with better weather, and not by much), great to see friends (though I never made it to anyone else's camp to go visiting like I'd planned, and didn't see everyone I'd hoped to), better at pacing myself than in past years (though I've not managed to optimize that yet), some distracting drama and psychodrama and politics (both at the camp level and at the event level), a few souvenirs some war booty, sold a few CDs, got two tunes written (the aforementioned co-creation with Mike, "The Armigerous Goose", and another by myself that has the working title "For Want of a Catchy Title", which I plan to rename later), managed not to let any migraines get beyond the "you ought to do something to head this off" stage, missed John ap Wynne's ceilidh but did get to Clan Cambion's Celtic Happy Hour (which was lots of fun -- though I was taken by surprise that they knew a different melody for "All Things Shall Perish" than I did), only made it to one class (but a very inspiring class that, as a side effect, gave me insight into something I'd been wondering about for a while), heard the Known World Choir give a kickass, rockin' concert of period Spanish music, heard the filthy alternative lyrics to "Mother's Lament" several times, played snare drum at the Pennsic Ball (and felt guilty for not getting back to play for dancing any more after that), and watched the Viking Boat Burning from across the lake again (much easier to see with a 900mm lens (actually a 300mm lens and a 3x teleconverter -- I shot a few frames and then invited the members of the camp I was standing in to use my camera as a telescope)).

I still need to find out the name of the professional-sounding Middle Eastern band at the party on the other side of the ravine into the wee hours of the very last day of War.

It was a good War. Not the best Pennsic I've had, but a very long way from being the worst. It was good to be 'home' for two weeks, even if I didn't manage to do everything I wanted to do while there.

As was pointed out by several people, "Have a nice War!" is not a combination one hears often the everyday world.

I've peeked at my friendspage but don't expect to even begin trying to catch up until Thursday.


Checking In From War

Checking mail for the first time from Mystic Mail this War. Seems that some of my post-from-cell-phone-via-SMS entries have been getting posted to my journal and others have gone missing. Feh.

The tune justgus37 and I wrote last week is now online (though I've not verified that all the linked files uploaded correctly). I'll edit it to my default layout after I get home.

Probably not going to log in again before the end of Pennsic, though there's a wee chance of it. Will continue to attempt to post from my cell phone.

I have not made it to any classes. I did play for dancing in the barn one night (used the snare drum), and for Midnight Madness. Went 'round the merchants more to say hello to the ones I know than to shop (limited funds). Basically, trying to pace myself and still not quite managing to do so completely effectively -- getting out during the day means resting in camp for the evening; getting out at night means not going up the hill the next day.

Rain one night; weather quite nice apart from that so far (knock wood). Chilly nights. More to tell after I get home, including the tale of the little girls across the street who were so distressed by the dragon hanging in our communal shade/dining area.