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19 July 2010 @ 03:54 pm
WW report  
Sooo... last week there was this thing... some of you might have heard about it... actually, 760 of y'all showed up for it. ;) It kept me sort of busy this spring and then I've been mysteriously tired this whole week, but I still wanted to do my recap.

Monday - This was the first of my two year gig as autocrat for Warriors and Warlords, the biggest event in Northshield. I set out for site a little later than planned, but still relatively on track. It had rained the night before so I finished packing the car in the morning and then set out. unfortunately, heat + stress is not good for my physical issues and halfway to site I had to pull over precipitously. I managed to hit the door lock on my way out, of course with the key still in the ignition...  and while I had my cell phone safely in my pocket, I was in a cell phone dead spot. O.o I walked up the road a bit and called AAA - happily the next town over had a bored service guy who said he could be there in 15 minutes - and then it started to rain. *sigh* Not hard, but still...  An inauspicious start to the event, to say the least. :P But, the AAA guy came, unlocked my car, he laughed at how packed it was, I explained about the event and then I was off. The rest of the day was just general setting up, putting in the Authentic Encampment, and forming the action plan for the week.

Tuesday and Wednesday - So, when you have 500 flags and need 500 little flagpoles and plan to cut them out of pipe, that means you need to cut 500 pieces of pipe. This takes a very, very long time. :P We had a crew of very patient and helpful folks who spent the better part of the afternoon rotating pipecutters over and over and over ad nauseum. Fun! I started out using this nifty ratcheted pipecutting gizmo that corvusjoyous provided, but when one of the manly men broke his pipecutter, I traded with him and worked on repairing the old one that he had been using. I actually found out that I was very efficient with the older style of pipecutter and started chewing through the pipe pretty quickly. Rawr! I R mighty! The rest of these days was a flurry of putting up tents and sunshades and placing the roads and walkways. The triangular flags we made for the roads and paths worked well and went in pretty quickly, but did take a fair bit of time since we added yards and yards of walking paths. I also discovered that the staples for the edges of the flags had been shipped to Madison instead of Boscobel, so I had the added excitement of finding them a ride to site, happily provided by Sir K. Wednesday night was the staff dinner and the arrival of the pre-registered volunteers. It seemed pretty popular to trade a pre-registered volunteer shift for an early arrival to site, so we will have to consider doing that again, perhaps with some tweaks to the process.

The weather throughout set up was pretty wet and included a few pretty quality storms. The space right out in front of the Main Pavilion flooded pretty badly - as in about a foot of standing water and the ability to play ring-toss with the floating pool toy flamingo I just *happened* to have in the car. :P This made me very glad that we had decided to use that area as an open commons instead of part of the merchant area proper - the standing water disappeared pretty quickly, but it remained boggy for much of the week. Despite the rain, morale remained good throughout set-up. We started Thursday a little behind schedule because of the rain delays, but got back on track with the assistance of volunteers from the rapidly-arriving hordes. Wednesday night I shared a room in the local hotel with Khadijah and I think that shower was one of the best things to happen to me ever. :P Sunscreen, bug spray, sweat and dirt make such a lovely extra skin. I swear I lost four pounds down the drain! A night in a real bed with air conditioning and no mosquitoes made me a human being willing to face the humans who would be arriving in the morning.

Thursday - Site opened! The rest of the shadeflys went up! The road flags were unfurled! The Northshield Pavilion went up! There were people all over the park! Yikes! Ladies and gentlemen, we have an event! Most of Thursday was a flurry of walking around seeing to details, adjusting paths as needed, directing folks, etc. I had worn giant holes in my feet during set-up, so while I generally do not approve of going to events barefoot, I carefully wandered about unshod, but carried my shoes in my bag so that I would have them handy for the areas where they were necessary. Eithni and Khadijah went to bed quite early and Marion came out to host Warda's birthday party which was a great success. Marion even had a sexy new carousing bodice, which will likely come out at war as well. As usual, there were flamingos and pink drinks and sweets from here to forever. Much fun. :)

Friday - I am not a morning person. No, really, really not a morning person. So I was sort of offended to be *ping!* wide awake at 7:20AM, well before my alarm was supposed to go off. :P I tried to roll back over and go to sleep, but G was setting up his building and there was nothing for it, so I got up, washed up, got breakfast at 'Manthra's, talked with the porta lady about some concerns, and went back to my tent to make my bed. mightyjesse  stopped by and asked me to watch Miss Em for awhile, so I sat on the edge of my bed and pestered her in her stroller until her momma came back for her. Then, once the bed was made, I went up to the main pavilion, talked with some folks (including a broken knight *giggle*) and generally socialized and supervised. Unfortunately, when I went to go get some lunch from the Girl Scouts, I realized that I wasn't hungry - in fact, I didn't feel so well at all. I opted for gatoraid as a liquid lunch, but spent most of the early afternoon feeling really crappy. Eventually, I realized that my face was HOT and that even though I'd been sucking down fluids, I was apparently not keeping up with my fluid losses. Sticking my head under a faucet and downing a full-octane Coke and a 20oz Gatoraid finally put things to right. Cheerios stolen from Miss M and a pepperoni roll from 'Manthra's certainly helped too. (Note to self: Stoopid autocrats need to eat and drink way more than we think we do. Dehydration and low blood sugars are an ugly spiral.) Mid-afternoon was spent chasing people off the lawn and delivering toilet paper and paper towel to the bathrooms. (The POWER! the GLORY! The MIGHTINESS of the AUTOCRAT! Rawr!) Friday evening we set up the Baronial Festival - Mr Svein fought for me in the Bad Baroness tourney and I cooked viking flat cakes for the Open House. My lovely Oseberg Bed made by Little John was also delivered and I stepped away to squee over it for awhile. So pretty! I can't wait to sleep on it at War!

Saturday - (Now, this was dumb. Again, wide awake before 9AM. Wrong, wrong, wrong...) I went up to Info Point to help move the bed into the A&S display, but Little John and company had already moved it. Again, there was a lot of wandering about, generally directing folks and supervising, but the stoopidity index seemed very low this year. There were even reports of unexpected cluefulness! I got lunch and a talk with ego_id_non_feci , went to a class and a birthday party, entered an A&S display and did some face-to-face judging with a fellow from Calontir,  and all that before court! Court happened and then there was a "bonus" Laurel meeting after the Chiv meeting. While we were waiting around, I got the opportunity to share some... erm... let's say news withvalkyr8 and the subsequent laughter was audible for some distance. The Laurel meeting took an unexpected turn, but may bear some interesting fruits. I had a conversation I had needed to have, which had the predictable if not satisfying results. The party at Shadewes seemed pretty good, but I didn't stick around long, preferring the company of friends in private encampments.

Sunday - This morning my alarm actually woke me, but at the "reasonable" hour of 8:30. I don't know why I insist on doing morning-person things with my vacation, though. ;P Folks cleared out pretty quickly, which is generally good, but not many stayed for clean-up. (And I need to follow up with some folks regarding the damage they left in their campsite...) I think we will need to think about clean up for next year - we need to make it clear to people that we don't need them to stay for hours... if everyone gave us 20 minutes, even the staff would be out of there at a reasonable hour. As it was, I ended up just piling crap into my car in a disheveled mess to get it out of the rain and much of take down occurred in the rain. Thanks are not enough for the folks who stayed to help... We were off site before dark, which is better than some years, I guess, but I think we can do better.

In all, though, a good, largely smoothly running event that was widely enjoyed. There's always room for improvement, of course, and I posted a survey to try to get some feedback. Some of the suggestions are really good, some are things I wanted to implement but I'm not sure how to do it yet, and some things are just not feasible for one reason or another and will need to be tabled, but it is good to get the input... Anyway - One WW down, one more to go! See you all at Warriors and Warlords XVIII!
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Amanda Marksdottir: Vikingragnvaeig on July 19th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
It seemed pretty popular to trade a pre-registered volunteer shift for an early arrival to site, so we will have to consider doing that again, perhaps with some tweaks to the process.

Did you do this only with an eye to making sure there were enough hands for set-up? Our Shire may need an idea like this.
eithni: embroideryeithni on July 20th, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
Folks who were on the set-up crew could come on site as early as Monday. The Wednesday arrival was just to promote volunteering during the event. This helped people be willing to volunteer on Thursday in particular. It is hard to get people to volunteer during those early hours when they are more interested in getting set up and settled in.
Dixon Greendixon_green on July 20th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
I sometimes think there should be another "official" position to the WW staff: personal minder (babysitter) to the autocrats, to make sure they eat, drink, sleep, drink, sunscreen, drink, eat, and otherwise partake in activities that keep the autocrat from falling over during the event.
eithni: jumpingeithni on July 20th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Yeah... they would need to GPS chip us to find us at mealtime, though. ;)
reneekytokorpireneekytokorpi on July 20th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC)
It could be a full time position following autocrats around. :) Also required: holding things in place for set up, answering frantic phone calls, and taking care of anything that makes the autocrats blood pressure climb to dangerous levels. :P
Miss Katzarhooie on July 21st, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
So basically autocrat retainers.

...Huh. Eithni, I think I can coordinate this.
eithni: greeneithni on July 24th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
hmmm... perhaps... ;) We'll see if you can be there next year...
Miss Katzarhooie on July 21st, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
My first WW was terribly exciting, so thank you for putting it on! I had a great time and thought it was excellently run. You should talk to Boscobel about putting a giant tent over the entire site with AC though... Just kidding. Mostly.

Sorry I couldn't stay to help clean up; I wasn't driving my own vehicle and my ride needed to be back in Pierre by dark.
robstoutrobstout on July 22nd, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Good job boss.
eithni: jumpingeithni on July 24th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks! You too!