Pennsic. Insane. 2.5 weeks of nonstop SCA will make anyone a bit batty, and this was my first experience with said war. I arrived at Pittsburgh International Airport at around 7:00 PM Eastern on Thursday, August 4. Pennsic didn't open until the 5th at noon, so I grabbed the nearest directory and put myself up in a Red Roof (free shuttle to and from the airport, lovely people. I highly recommend staying there again.) A nice sleep and a short ride later, I was at Cooper's Field, checking into Pennsic.
Note to West-Coast SCA-types: East/Middle-oriented wars are not like West-oriented wars. For one, there is no correlation between the time you are allowed to check in and the time you are allowed to set up your tent. In Pennsic, for example, you can check in on Friday at noon. Unfortunately, land-grab doesn't happen until Saturday, sometime between 9 AM and 9 PM. If you are silly enough to show up on Friday (or, godforbid, Thursday), you will be expected to either set up your tent on the battlefield for the night, or crash in one of the already set-up rental pavilions. I chose to do neither, instead working at Troll until morning, then sleeping inside the Info Point pavilion at the insistence of the lovely Info Point ladies.
Another note: Wars end on Sunday back East, not Monday. Plan accordingly.
As an Eagle Scout, I learned a valuable lesson in packing: If you have the choice of strapping it to your back or carrying it in your hands, strap away. As such, I had a rather large camping pack, loaded down with a tent, tarp, sleeping bag, et al (I also carried a duffel, but that's not important.) I looked like Patsy, or Samwise Gamgee in monk's robes. As an Eagle Scout in the SCA, I learned that most SCA-types do not camp outside the SCA, and have little experience with proper camping gear. Coupled with my large "Sam" pack, this ignorance left only one conclusion to be had: I had walked all the way from wherever I was from.
When asked if I had walked, I assured myself that the idea would loose itself from their brains as soon as they heard from whence I had traveled. So I said "yes, I walked all the way from Los Angeles." Rather than the glow of enlightenment, however, the flash of shock immediately took over their face, and they all asked me, "How long did it take you?" Not sure how to let them down lightly, I continued, "Oh, about a month. I hitchhiked about half the way." The response was even more emphatic: "Well, sit down. You must be exhausted! Here, have something to drink." To this day, at least six Pennsic-goers (a considerable amount of them shiny-hatted multiple peers) still believe I walked from California.
The rest of Pennsic is a bit of a blur. I worked some at Herald's Point, some at Mobility Assistance, and some at Troll. I served on TRM's court, and heralded them in for Opening and Closing Ceremonies. I went to some parties, and made lots of friends with members of the local Shire, Hunter's Home. Hunter's Home - a finer group of people you'll be hard-pressed to meet. If ever they're in the Long Beach area, I hope they look me up so that I can repay the immense hospitality they paid me.
I stayed at Pennsic until an hour before everyone was to be off-site (except for merchants, who were given three extra hours, but that's neither here nor there.) I commissioned a banner earlier in the war, bearing my badge (per bend Or and argent) and I flew it until I left. It flew higher than any banner on the battlefield, and was the last one flying at the war. Does this mean I won Pennsic?
I nearly didn't go to Pennsic, because I was promised 40 hrs/wk by my employer through the month of August. Granted, my boss had promised me 40 hrs/wk all through the summer, and yet I had only received 10. But I figured that with the coming semester, they'd need me to work. Then I was told, "Kevin, our funding for the summer has run out. Come back in the Fall." So, with nothing keeping me here, I went to Pennsic. (See previous section).
When I returned, I found I had received an email from my boss's secretary. I was assigned 9 hours per week to work. Nine! Looking at everyone else's schedule, I noted that most had 19 and 20 hours. I immediately sent off an email that this was not at all good for me, and that the spots where no one was working could easily be filled by me, as I had nothing conflicting. I then received an email from my boss, noting that Work-Study would only pay so much, and that 9 hrs/wk at $10/hr was all it would pay for, spread out over the semester. Further, his boss had decided that they would only pay me through work-study, so when the funding ran out, I would be out of a job. I was then offered a choice: 9 hrs/wk for the semester, or 20 hrs/wk until the funding ran out.
Not one to take this lying down, I immediately sent off an email, noting that I would much rather have 20 hrs/wk, insisting that the decision not to fund me was made without all the information considered, and that when all sides had been listened to, the funding would make itself available. After my cool, casual employee side had been properly displayed, I went to bed to fitfully rock myself to sleep.
Today, I went into my department, and talked with my boss. I received good news, and bad news. The good news was that I was getting a raise, from $10 to $12.70/hr. The bad news was that with the pay raise, the work-study funding would run out sooner, and that even more funds would be needed to justify my continued employ. I was also given carte blanche on my work schedule, with the request that I work only when I'm needed.
At this point, mind you, my boss (Mike) loves me, and wants me to stay as long as possible, to continue working on my project. His boss (Jeff) cannot see the purpose of funding my project, which is to update the student information database and prepare grade checks for student organizations. So it's 1 to 1, with the odds not in my favor. With this in mind, observe my next move:
I met with the new Greek Adviser, Caitilin, whose first real day on the job was today. The major role of the Greek Adviser, as far as the National Organizations are concerned, is to supply the National Organizations with a steady stream of Greek grade checks. Caitilin did not know I existed until I walked into her office and explained to her what I do. She was very grateful for my existence, because most of the National Organizations were requesting their grade checks, due yesterday. Faced with an impossible deadline and no clue on how to prepare the grade checks, I was the light at the end of the tunnel.
It is my sincere hope that Mike and Caitilin will convince Jeff that not only is my position vital to the running of the department, but that I should possibly be hired on with a salary. I'm sure I ask too much, so at this point continuous employment is all I really want. We'll see.
Cypress, my roommate, moved out this past Saturday. While I am grateful for his half of the rent, I am now wallowing in the extra living space that I was only able to appreciate for 2 days prior to his arrival. So much room! Glee!
So that's that.