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27 March 2012 @ 12:06 am
Gulf Wars  
A little late, but the War report:

This year I drove down to Gulf Wars withiarroganti in my fabulous little Fit. We each had to leave a few things behind and he sent a few items with Constanza, but we didn't need to use the car topper, which just sucks mileage like nobody's business. The trip down was pretty uneventful. We stopped at Lambert's, but the two hour wait was more than we were interested in at that point. We got to Jackson around midnight and I convinced him to stop for the night, due to tiredness, the number of deer on the road, and the futility of getting to site at 2AM. I checked the bedbug registry and Kayak and we settled on a Red Roof Inn as being the cheap-to-midrange option with rooms and without bedbugs. Bad choice. The first room was DISGUSTING. As in exhausted-from-driving-for-fourteen-hours-and-I ain't-sleeping-here disgusting. I complained and they offered another room, where the cleanliness was acceptable. However, there was a wedding party at the site and they were loud until 4AM or so. Factor in that it was daylight savings time and we wanted to get on the road by 8AM so we could get to site in time to set up before a major storm was forecast to hit, and I did not have a good night. Stressed and overtired Eithni is not a good person and unfortunately I got to display that once we hit site... As usual, there was an epic line outside the check-in barn, but you could not join that line, oh no, there was a whole parking lot of people waiting with their cars to get into the line... and this HOURS after gate opened. (I just don't understand how this happens. I have been to Pennsic, Estrella, Great Western, etc, etc, etc. and no matter the size of the war, this ONLY ever happens at Gulf Wars and it reliably happens every year. Their check-in process is insane, with at least five stations (not in any smooth logical order) and requiring at least three people to do nothing but direct traffic. Insanely mismanaged.) I was an angry, frustrated muffin. We were there, helplessly stuck in line as the storm bore down on us...  Finally, we got on site and with Count Hagan's kind assistance, (because of course I'd never put this tent up before,) we got the tent up quickly as the winds picked up. Luckily, the rain just grazed us that afternoon and the next big storm didn't come in until that evening.

Sunday night was full of First Night of War Drama, per usual. It was a different flavor of drama than usual, but it still was a special evening.

Monday, I slept in since I had not been able to get the loom in the car and so skipped the morning weaving class. I had planned on going to a bunch of classes on rectilinear construction all taught by the same lady, but she didn't have handouts, the concepts were things I was already familiar with and after I had to be That Laurel and correct her sketched out pattern during the second class, I decided to skip the afternoon offerings. (I really didn't want to be a jerk, but the error was going to lead to tragedy for everyone involved so  felt obligated, but then thought I should get out of there. :P) I went to a nice class on loop-in-loop chains instead and made a pretty silver little bracelet. Monday night was the first Northshield Hunt, whichiarroganti ran - we had teams of a hunter, a master of hounds, and up to six hounds that chased a stag across site. It was a brilliant plan and a lot of fun - unfortunately, the stag only lasted about 20 minutes, so I didn't see him return since I thought I could run back to camp for a beer. Still, a nifty concept and there is a plan to run it again at WW.

Tuesday, I started slow with some wandering and shopping before a class on medieval apples and cider and one on red dyes. Tuesday night was supposed to be Goldschlager night, but it was a sort of sad excuse for the usual drunken debauchery. Things were sort of wonky due to a last-minute White Scarf meeting that occupied many of the usual suspects into the evening.

Wednesday was a long, disappointing day. In many ways, Wednesday was the best day of the War, as far as I was concerned - the Early Period Life open house, indigo dyeing, and several good cooking classes... But I had volunteered to provide a fighter lunch since there was only an hour between the Field and the Ravine battles (both of the war points, back-to-back, of course), so I got up bright and shiny early, went into town for supplies, spent the morning washing and cutting up the fruit and munchies and schlepping it all down to the Ravine, where I had agreed with the General to have the munchies and beverages waiting... And then the Field battle ended early enough that TRM sent everyone back to camp, where they ate lunch out of their own stashes and I ended up stuck with tons of leftovers, even after pushing food off on pretty much anyone I could chase down. Luckily, I ran into Cam on his way to make a town run for party supplies and he (and his ducklings) took the leftovers off my hands. So, what could have been a great, dorktastic day ended up being wasted time, energy, and money. :/

The one saving grace of the afternoon was finally being able to put into action a Plan I've had for a few years. I asked TRM to assemble their Order of the White Scarf and I made some little comment about how, this late in the War and knowing how hard they are on White Scarves with getting them dirty and lost and such, I thought I would provide them with something appropriate... I produced a kleenex box and started pulling out white sheets one after another and handing them out to the Dons and Donas as the populace pointed and laughed. Oh! The cranky faces! Until they started touching them and they started unfurling, revealing that they were handsewn silk scarves and then they were laughing too.

I then feigned surprise and said that there seemed to be an extra scarf, handed it to TRM, and skedaddled so they could proceed with making Ambrose a Don. Congrats to Don Ambrose! Main NS court was Wednesday evening and I served LizCheese as an after-court refreshment. The highlight of court, however, was that they made teffan a Court Baroness. Sooooo well deserved and full of happiness. We took her to dinner and there was a lot of "your excellency"-ing for the rest of the event. :D

Thursday was the Rapier Champion War Point and Ambrose won his bout, but it was right away in the morning, so I missed it due to a waiting to Katie. (Unfortunately, she'd had a really late night and overslept, so we missed our date.) The day's classes were insertion seams and needlelace edging. (I seem to think there might be others, but I'm not remembering.) The other highlight of the day was the A&S Competition. There were some good entries, including a revision of one I had judged last year. It was improved, but still had a ways to go, but even though I left contact information I doubt the artisan will contact me. Thursday night was date night - we got sort of a late start, so by the time we had dinner, there was only about an hour before the concert at the Green Dragon. I detoured back to camp to drop off purchases and pick up some supplies - a cider, the tasty Scotch, my whipcording, and my dorkPhone. I used the dorkPhone to call dread_ex and ego_id_non_feci during the performance so they could "be' there at least for a bit. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a headache that morphed into a migraine by the end of the performance. I thought I could tough it out, but I had dropped off the bag that had my vitamin I in it and I was wearing my no-pocket late period garb and so didn't have my migraine meds. I should have made a special trip back to camp when I was no longer able to make my fingers work the whipcording, but I didn't want to leave early. However, at the end of the concert, I couldn't even see straight and had to go back to camp, where I needed some help getting the migraine meds open. I don't know what sort of sadistic bastard designed that packaging - it was nearly impossible for two non-impaired adult women with a lantern to open the package. Anyway, the rest of the night was misery and hate. 

Friday, I got a late start with the migraine hangover. I went to the Rose Tourney to wish folks good luck. They were still prepping for the first round and the stop didn't go particularly well, so I went off to the Populace A&S, a naalbinding class, and spent most of the afternoon playing in the dyepots with the dyer's potluck. There, at least, I had some serious success. Two yellows, a pink, a purple, and a blue on linen, plus a few samples of yarn dyed in madder. (Uh-oh. Um. This reminds me... I packed the little mini madder dyepot in a rug behind my car seat - a safe spot for the ride home. It's, uh, still there. Hm. Note to self: get that out after I return the tent tomorrow.) At the after-battle court, His Majesty made a really moving gesture. Vlad is known for his feathered wings that attach to his hussar armor... and after a nice speech to the army, he called everyone forward and handed them a feather he clipped off the wings himself. Really a moving moment and more than one person in the crowd was misty eyed - the wings are such a part of Vlad and his journey, not only as King, but in his years as he journeyed toward the Throne. Very, very cool. Friday night, there was some pre-packing and then we were off to the Knowne World Party. I had an absolutely awesome outfit, but between the dim light and the fact that it was an Early Period hotness, only Aethelflaed and Hrodwyn noticed. (Nerds unite!) :P They actually closed the party down pretty early. We hung out at the Dragon for awhile, but the Doctor schtick sort of broke up the Northshield crowd and with multiple inductions grew repetitive and tiresome, so I was happy to turn in. 

Saturday was the C&T tourney bright and early. I spent my time scurrying between the field and the dyer's tent, where they were doing cleanup. That way, I was able to see the bouts I wanted to watch and photograph but also could help with the cleanup. After the tourney and the obligatory schmoozing, there was lunch, and then breaking camp. We got back to camp a bit after two, packed up, and showered before getting off site around 4:30PM. I had hoped that we'd have some visibility on the way back home, but something went awry and everything E had sent with Constanza came home with us. Happily, all the beer and cheese was gone and the Talbots had taken two small bins of my laundry, so it all fit in, if barely. We made it to Jackson that night - the plan had been to go to an Irish pub and celebrate the holiday, but then they decided to hit a block party instead. The first wave left before everyone had assembled and by the time everyone else had arrived at the hotel, the other folks did not want to go, since it would involve a taxi, crowds, and lots of craziness. Not that ordering a pizza in Memphis was an easy task, let me tell you... *sigh* If I'd known how the night was going to go, I would have lobbied to press on for another hour or so, but it is what it is. Anyway, the rest of the drive was uneventful - we got to Madison in the early evening and Constanza andiarroganti proceeded north. I threw some laundry in the washer and passed out. :P 

Thus ends the tale of GW... except for the unpacking, since there *still* is stuff in my car... *sigh*

(I was, as usual, a failure at taking photos, but the few I took are at: http://s529.photobucket.com/albums/dd339/eithni/Gulf%20Wars%202012/ )
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Current Mood: tiredtired
Gwynethgwyneth1362 on March 27th, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
I remember many a Pennsic sitting in my car in line on the battlefield, waiting to get through the gate. The most epic was the year Dafydd and I were Prince/Princess. We waited nearly 3.5 hours just to get to the point where we could get into the building. The cool part was that NS sent a bunch of folks with carts and wagons, and a lot of our stuff was unloaded and waiting for us when we finally got to camp. It was the coolest thing ever, and the envy of some other un-named Royalty who were waiting beside us. . .
eithni: darkladyeithni on March 28th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
Huh. I usually like to drive there overnight to get there shortly after they open for the second week. I've waited 20 minutes, max. However, they may have just fixed that in recent years - the event where you stepped down was my very firstest real event and I was all shiny and wearing PINK! :P But it's cool that folks were able to help you out like that. :)
Gwynethgwyneth1362 on March 28th, 2012 01:41 pm (UTC)
It has changed a lot. They fixed it somehow, my guess is with the pre-registration, but boy, it used to be bad. We waited for hours.
zandoriazandoria on March 28th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
OOh, we went to Lamberts our one and only (so far) trip to Gulf Wars. We had to wait about 1.5 hours, but the experience was worth it. The food was really good too - if we go back to GW (which I hope we do), we'll budget the extra time to stop at Lamberts again. (And I bought the tie dye "Heads Up" t-shirt as a memento).