PI Saturday August 2, 2008

Advice for the Middle-Aged

When you're as old as I am, and although I'd like to say I'm older than dirt I don't really know where some of this dirt has been so I'd be reluctant to speak on its behalf, you tend to overlook some of the things you took for granted when you were young. You start not noticing some of the things about yourself that you don't really want to notice. You don't notice that when you look in the mirror that the six-pack abs that once adorned your frame have turned into something between a bubba and a keg. You don't notice that when you're ogling those pretty dancers that they might not be laughing with you. You will notice that your wife will still smack you. Those are mostly unavoidable.

Another thing you don't notice are the bizarre things that happen to yourself. If you keep getting headaches when you're setting up camp or out there on the main battlefield, it might not be because your campmates are just watching you work or because guys in blue tape are repeatedly smacking you in the head with blunt objects. You really need to watch your water intake, particularly if you don't normally get off your couch much or live in climates like I do which are more amenable to cross-country skiing and ice fishing than cooking the camp breakfast on your new armor. You never know when the great curse of Pennsic will strike. No, I'm not talking about the little blonde in the next camp who smiled at you. Remember what I wrote earlier. The great curse is dehydration. Please, make sure you're drinking something out of your water cooler and not always out of your beer cooler. The beer can wait.

A few days ago one of my best friends went down with the heat pretty bad, bad enough that he ended up in the hospital. When you're at Pennsic, you need to be spending your time at Pennsic, not down the road at the hospital. You can't see the dancers from Butler Memorial. And isn't that why we're all here in the first place?

Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together.

Pennsic Rallies for a Legend

By Grizzly

Reporter, the Pennsic Independent

Thursday evening Og returned to Pennsic to dozens of well-wishers, cheering his name "Og! Og! Og!", waiting to present him with his brand new yurt.

Early in the first week of Pennsic, Og was force to leave due to a sudden illness. While he was recuperating, his campmate Stitch and "brother" Wolfgang of the MacPharlain Clan, hoping to cheer him up, decided to help him out by cleaning and straightening up Og's tent. Upon closer inspection of his abode they found that it had seen better days, and since it had a broken zipper and leaky roof, the only option was a new tent. With no new tents to be found, they spoke to Lord Valadar of Sparrowhawk from Great American Yurts, to see how much a yurt might cost. When he heard it was for Og, Valadar told them he was willing to make a special deal, half price, $800 for a brand new yurt.

Stitch and Wolfgang decided to take up a collection, passing the hat, or in this case Og's Helmet. As he walked through camp with Og's helmet and club, Wolfgang said, "the true spirit of Pennsic came out." Everyone wanted to donate; children chased them down to throw pennies in the hat for Og even after their parents had already put in money. StitchÕs son Dragon and his friends stood on Beggars' Row giving hugs in exchange for donations for Og. Several people went around collecting for the cause.

While they initially only hoped to get some portion of the cost of the yurt deferred by donations, Stitch and Wolfgang found that within a few hours they had collected in excess of $1200, more than enough for the yurt, and money was still coming. In the end they had collected over $1500, enough for the yurt, a new bed, a door and shelves. The money that was left over was presented to Og to help offset his medical expenses.

The walls of the yurt were taken to locations around Pennsic for people to sign. The top portion, the "wheel," was brought to the Pennsic Independent for the staff to sign.

When his friends learned that Og would return Thursday evening, there was a mad dash to get the tent set up, the bed made, and all of his belongings organized and placed inside before his return. Pennsic Independent staff artist Muirne painted a plaque with Og's face on it for his door. The final touch was to place Og's own plaque reading, "Relinquite spem omnes qui hic intratis," [sic] on the threshold.

As the work was being finished, word came that he was on his way. People began wandering in to Og's camp about that time, wanting to be there to welcome him home. More and more showed up, and it wasn't long before there were several dozen people crowded into the camps common tent waiting to welcome Og.

As the car came in to view, Wolfgang stepped onto the road, holding Og's club high and, with everyone joining in, he chanted, "Og!Og!Og!"
Og's face was aglow with a big smile as he walked up and saw his new tent. His helmet filled with get-well cards was presented to him. He gratefully accepted his gifts and, overcome with emotion, announced he wanted to thank everyone for what they had done.

Stitch and Wolfgang added, "God bless the people of Pennsic! We can't thank you enough!"

The Warhorns of Summer are Blasting Again

By DonalBane of Blakmers

Battlefield Reporter, Pennsic Independent

Greetings once again to all my fellow SCA warrior watchers and the warriors who keep us entertained and enthralled at these great Pennsic Wars!

With the majority of the brawling throng still finding its way onto site, I thought it might be a good idea to review "what's up" on this year's Pennsic Battlefield schedule.

Change is a constant on the battlefield schedule from year to year and this year is no different.
If there's a catchphrase for this year's schedule, it would be "Fight all you want, we'll have more battles."

In honor of Pennsic War XXXVII, the number of War Points this year is 37. That's the biggest number of War Points in Pennsic history, nearly double last year's total (21).

What's more, that number is weighted toward mass heavy battles.

Three Points will be offered to the rapier fighters, including the rapier champions, while the traditional four Points will be given to archery and four more Points are allotted for heavy fighting champions' battles.

That leaves a whopping 26 points to be decided in six mass battles. Any fighter who leaves Pennsic this year claiming he didn't get enough stick time has no one but himself to blame.

Let's break it down battle-by-battle. There are some new fights and some twists on some old battles which should make things very interesting this year.Remember, although these battles are listed on the official battlefield schedule, all battle times are approximate and subject to change:

* Gates of Rome Battle @ 10 a.m. Monday Aug. 4 (5 points) -> The newest "concept" battle at Pennsic, this will be a 60-minute, unlimited resurrection affair fought over five gates in the "Aurelian Wall" around Rome. The wall will run diagonally across the main battlefield at Pennsic and a banner will be at each of the five gates. Control of each banner will be worth one War Point at the end of the battle. By the way, combat archery and siege weapons are allowed. This should be a fun.

* Woods Battle @ 11 a.m. Tuesday Aug. 5 (5 points) -> The Pennsic original returns with simplified rules this year: 120 minutes of unlimited resurrection warfare; five banners to fight over; control of each banner at the end of the fight awards one War Point. It's still impossible to watch, but it's still a lot of fun to fight, so they tell me.

* Town Battle @ 10 a.m. Wednesday Aug. 6 (5 points) -> A 90-minute unlimited resurrection fight, this battle will be fought over five flags stashed throughout the town. Marshals will check who "owns" each flag every 15 minutes, with majority ownership of each flag earning a War Point. I smell a tactical affair.

* Mountain Pass Battle @ 2 p.m. Wednesday Aug. 6 (3 points) -> That's right; two mass battles in one day.
This will be a one-hour, unlimited resurrection affair will be fought over three banners, with control of each banner at the end earned a War Point. Be aware, this is the battle where the combat archers and siege engineers like to play and ballista bolts don't care where or not a spectator wears armor.

* Bridge Battle @ 10 a.m. Thursday Aug. 6 (3 points) -> I admit this is my favorite battle to watch because it can be so tactical. There will be three fights over five bridges. Whichever side controls the center of the bridges after 30 minutes (or rolls over the field) will claim a War Point after each fight.

* Field Battle @ 10 a.m. Friday Aug. 7 (5 points) -> The main event takes its place as the last big War Points fight with five individual battles, each worth one War Point. The first two fights will be last-man-standing brawls with only hand-held weapons, while fights four and five will allow for combat archery and siege weapons. The third fight however, will be the most unique. In this battle, TRMs Konrad and Lutr will each take the field with a banner-bearer. The object of this fight will be to kill the opposition king and force him to retire his banner before the enemy does the same to yours. (Video game fans will recognize this as a "regicide" game Ð only this one is live action!)

There are the big battles of the week in a nutshell. It's going to be a long, fun War.

I can't wait to see all of you on the field. To Arms!